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Hardy pitches two-hit shutout, Pioneers split SAC twinbill with Coker

Hardy pitches two-hit shutout, Pioneers split SAC twinbill with Coker

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum College's Tim Hardy pitched a two-hit shutout as the Pioneers split a South Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader with Coker College Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Park.

Coker won the first game 5-3, while TC and Hardy bounced back in the night-cap with a 3-0 victory to salvage a win in the weekend series. The Cobras (9-5, 2-1 SAC) won the series 2-1 in the league's opening weekend.

Game 1: Coker 5, Tusculum 3

Coker plated two runs in the fourth inning and three more in eighth as the Cobras claimed Saturday's first game 5-3.

Robert Lybrand and AJ Strnad each tallied two hits, while Darius Coldiron drove in the first scoring tallies of the game with his two-run single in the fourth inning.

Tusculum answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth as Colby Skeen led off with a single and moved to second on a stolen base.  Daulton Martin drove him in with his third double of the year to trim the deficit to 2-1.

In the top of the eighth, Coker's Bryson Conner led with a single and moved to second on a bunt.  Strnad hit his sixth double of the year to bring home Conner and knocking TC starting pitcher Ethan Carpenter out of the game.

Back-to-back wild pitches scored Strnad and later in the inning, Jon Koski tripled down the right field line for a 5-1 Coker lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Tusculum scored a pair of runs without the benefit of a hit as Zack Finchum drew a walk and Cole Baxley reached on an outfield error.  Edison Cabrera was hit by a pitch to load the bases as relief pitcher Brooks Estrada was replaced by Griffin Hollifield.  Jeremy Glore drove in Finchum with a fly out and Colby Skeen reached on a fielder's choice to drive in Baxley.  Hollifield ended the inning with a fly out.

Hollifield wrapped up his fourth save of the game when he worked around a two-out hit by John Topoleski as the Cobras won their fifth straight game.

Coker starter Forrest Arnold picked up the victory as he pitched seven innings, allowed four hits, one run and posted four strikeouts to improve to 1-0 on the season.  Carpenter (2-1) suffered the loss as he went 7.1 innings, allowed seven hits, four runs, two walks and eight strikeouts. 

Game 2: Tusculum 3, Coker 0

Tim Hardy pitched a very efficient seven-inning complete game while recording his first collegiate shutout in a 3-0 win in Saturday's second game.

Hardy threw 76 pitches with one walk and allowed a pair of two-out singles while striking out seven to improve to 3-0 on the season.  Hardy allowed only two runners to reach second base for the game and closed out the contest by retiring seven in a row to seal the victory.

The Pioneers got all the offense it would need in the fourth inning with four straight singles to start the frame, including Topoleski's two-run single to put TC on top 2-0. TC added an insurance run on Glore's one-out single.

Topoleski finished the game going 2-for-3 including his third double of 2017. It extended his hitting streak to seven in a row where he has posted two-hit performances in six of his last seven outings.

Tusculum returns to action on Tuesday when TC travels to Lenoir-Rhyne University for a non-conference, mid-week match-up with the Bears.

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