GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- A 10-run fourth inning boosted Tusculum University to a 12-4 six-inning victory over Anderson University in game one of their South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader Tuesday at Red Edmonds Field.
The Trojans (17-11, 1-3 SAC) rebounded with a 9-1 win over the Pioneers (13-9, 1-3 SAC) in six innings in game two to salvage the split of the twinbill.
Tusculum will host Newberry in a SAC doubleheader on Saturday, March 23 at 1 p.m. at Red Edmonds Field.
Game 1: Tusculum 12, Anderson 4 (6 innings)
Emily Hester hit a grand slam during the Pioneers' 10-run fourth inning outburst and drove in a career-high six runs in the victory. Hester was 3-for-4 with an RBI single to open the scoring surge, and added a run-scoring double in the bottom of the sixth.
The six RBIs by Hester are tied for the fourth-most in a game in school history, and are the most since Ashley Basilicato knocked in six runs at Virginia-Wise on March 25, 2008. The grand slam was the first for the Pioneers since Anna Alloway connected against Queens on April 21 of last season.
Tusculum's 10-run inning included six hits, two walks and a pair of Anderson errors as nine of the 10 runs were unearned. The 10 runs were the most in an inning for the Pioneers since scoring 10 runs in the fourth inning against New Haven on March 13 of last year.
The rally helped the Pioneers overcome an early 4-0 deficit to the Trojans, who scored three runs in the first and one in the second but were shut down over the final four innings by Tusculum starter Ivee Richesin (5-2), who struck out three and did not walk a batter in her second complete game of the season.
Anderson went up 3-0 in the first on an RBI single by Joshlyn Martin, a run-scoring double from Mattie Hamilton and an RBI single by Morgan Charter. The Trojans added a run in the second as Martin collected her second RBI single of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Tusculum was held to two walks and no hits through three innings by Anderson starter Harlie Duncan. However, Taylor Battle lined the first pitch of the fourth inning into the gap for a triple, and Hester followed with an RBI single to cut the Anderson lead to 4-1. Alexis Grampp reached on an error and the runners were advanced on a sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch brought home pinch-runner Tori West to pull the Pioneers within 4-2, and another error set up Alloway to deliver a two-run double which tied the game at 4-4.
Back-to-back walks to Emma Casey and Brittney Franse loaded the bases for Sammie West, who blooped a single behind first to drive in Alloway and Casey for a 6-4 Tusculum lead. An infield single by Battle re-loaded the bases for Hester, who drilled a 2-2 pitch to deep left for her sixth home run of the season and the 22nd of her career, but her first career grand slam. Hester moved into sole possession of second place on the Tusculum career home run list, breaking a tie with Kaytlin Stroinski (2012-15) and bringing her within seven of the school record of 29 home runs set by Brie Griffin (2004-07).
The Pioneers finished off the win in the bottom of the sixth as Sammie West reached on an error, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Hester for an 11-4 Tusculum lead. Hester then moved to third on another wild pitch by reliever Kayson Boatner, and scored easily as Grampp drove a liner over the drawn-in outfield for the game-ending hit.
Battle was 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored for the Pioneers, while West was 1-for-3 with two runs scored, a stolen base and an RBI. For Anderson, Hamilton and Martin each finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and Meghan Majeski was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Duncan (9-4) gave up 10 runs (one earned) on six hits in four innings of work for the Trojans, with five walks and one strikeout. Boatner tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing two hits and two unearned runs.
Game 2: Anderson 9, Tusculum 1 (6 innings)
The Trojans returned the favor with the six-inning win in game two, as Boatner and Breanna Hagerty hit home runs and Kayla Pepper (8-7) struck out six and scattered three hits in the victory. Anderson outhit Tusculum 10-3 in the nightcap and had six extra-base hits as a team.
The Trojans scored a run in the first without benefit of a hit as Kasey Grant walked with one out, stole second and went to third on a throwing error, and scored on a groundout by Martin. The Pioneers evened the score in the bottom of the second as Grayson Brown doubled with one out and scored on a bloop single to right by Taylor Johnson.
Anderson took the lead for good in the fourth with three runs as Hamilton led off with a single and scored on Boatner's ninth home run of the season. Gracie Williams also drove in a run on a triple to the gap but was thrown out at the plate attempting to stretch into a home run.
In the fifth, Anderson added four more runs on an RBI triple by Martin, an RBI single by Hamilton, an RBI triple from Boatner and a groundout from Charter. The Trojans closed the scoring in the sixth on a leadoff home run from Hagerty, her second of the year.
West was the only Pioneer to reach base more than one in game two, finishing 1-for-2 with a single and a walk. Grant, Hamilton and Boatner all went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, with Boatner driving in three runs.
Taylor Plemons (3-4) started for the Pioneers and gave up seven hits and six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings with two strikeouts and a walk. Allison Pate finished up with 1 2/3 innings in the circle for Tusculum, giving up three runs on three hits.