GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum and Carson-Newman split a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at Red Edmonds Field, with the visiting Eagles winning game one 12-2 in five innings and the Pioneers coming back for a 7-5 victory in the nightcap.
The Pioneers (21-20, 6-8 SAC) will be on the road Saturday at Newberry for a 1 p.m. doubleheader with the Wolves.
Game 1: Carson-Newman 12, Tusculum 2 (5 innings)
The Eagles scored four runs in the top of the first and added three in the second, two in the third and three more in the fourth to give starting pitcher Lacie Rinus (17-8) more than enough offensive support. Rinus worked four innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs while striking out nine and walking three.
Cheyenne Boles finished 3-for-3 with a double and three runs batted in for the Eagles, while Abby Fiessinger was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Rinus, Haley Caldwell and Taylor Scott also went 2-for-3 as Carson-Newman had 14 hits in the game.
The Eagles struck quickly against Pioneer starter Allison Pate (9-9) with four runs in the first inning, on an RBI double by Rinus, RBI singles from Katie Pritchett and Scott and a sacrifice fly by Ashlyn Cooper. Carson-Newman added three runs in the second against Tusculum reliever Taylor Plemons on a fielding error and a two-run single by Boles. The Eagles added two runs in the third on an RBI double by Fiessinger and an RBI single from Rinus, and scored three more in the fourth against Pioneer reliever Ivee Richesin on RBI doubles by Boles and Fiessinger and an RBI single by Scott to take a 12-0 lead.
Tusculum was held hitless through three innings before picking up its first hit with one out in the fourth on a double by Anna Alloway. Sammie West then hit a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left-center for her first home run of the season which cut the Carson-Newman lead to 12-2. The Pioneers would pick up three more hits, on singles by Emma Casey, Taylor Battle and Emily Hester, but reliever Valerie Seay kept Tusculum off the board in the fifth to end the game by run rule.
Pate allowed four hits and four earned runs in 1/3 of an inning for the Pioneers, while Plemons surrendered six hits and five runs (two earned) in 2 2/3 innings of relief with four strikeouts and a walk. Richesin tossed the final two innings for Tusculum giving up three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Game 2: Tusculum 7, Carson-Newman 5
The Pioneers saw an early 4-0 lead evaporate, but regained the lead with a run in the fifth and added two insurance runs in the sixth to salvage the split with the Eagles (27-15, 7-9 SAC). Tusculum finished the game with 13 hits and drew five walks, but stranded 12 runners on base.
Delaney Guerrero and Brittney Franse each went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI for the Pioneers, with Casey, Battle and Morgan Mahaffey each going 2-for-4. Battle scored twice for the Pioneers, including the go-ahead run in the fifth, while Mahaffey doubled and knocked in a pair of runs.
Fiessinger went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two runs batted in for the Eagles in game two, while Caldwell was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Five of the Eagles' nine hits went for extra bases against Tusculum starter Lizzy Galloway (3-4), who needed just 84 pitches to throw her third complete game in five starts this season.
Rinus started game two for the Eagles and was ineffective as the Pioneers jumped to a quick 3-0 lead. West led off with a walk and moved to second on a bunt single by Guerrero. After Hester was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Alloway drew a bases-loaded walk to drive home West with the first run of the game. A wild pitch brought home Guerrero for a 2-0 lead, and an RBI single by Franse pushed the Pioneers in front 3-0.
Tusculum added a run in the second as Mahaffey led off with a double and West followed with a walk. A single by Guerrero drove home Mahaffey for a 4-0 Tusculum lead and saw Rinus depart in favor of reliever Morgan Crawford. The Pioneers loaded the bases with one out, but a double-play grounder allowed the Eagles to escape with just one run allowed.
Carson-Newman scored a run in the third on back-to-back doubles by Kristen Toppel and Fiessinger, but the Pioneers looked to respond in their half of the fourth as singles by Casey and Franse and a walk to West loaded the bases. However, Crawford retired the side on a ground ball to strand two runners in scoring position for the third straight inning.
The Eagles chipped away at the Pioneer lead with another run in the fourth on an RBI single by Scott, and after Tusculum left two more on base in the fourth, Carson-Newman tied the game in the fifth on a two-run double by Caldwell.
The tie would be short-lived as Tusculum responded in the home half of the fifth as Battle collected her sixth triple of the season to lead off the inning, and scored on a grounder to second by Mahaffey. Tusculum added two insurance runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth as Franse doubled and scored on a single by Battle, who then came home on a single from Mahaffey.
In the seventh, Fiessinger led off with her fifth home run of the season and Rinus drew a one-out walk, but Galloway got back-to-back grounders to third to end the game.
Galloway allowed five runs on nine hits in seven innings of work, striking out two and walking one. Crawford (10-6) tossed five innings of relief for the Eagles, giving up three runs on nine hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Rinus, who threw 83 pitches in four innings in the opener, labored through 52 pitchers in an inning-plus in game two and gave up four runs on four hits and three walks while striking out just one.