ANDERSON, S.C. --- Daulton Martin drew a bases loaded walk in the top of the 11th inning to drive in the go-ahead run and Chase McAllister pitched the final 2.2 innings as Tusculum defeated Anderson 6-5 Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
The Pioneers (17-8, 10-3 SAC) record their eighth consecutive win and move into a tie for first place in the South Atlantic Conference standings after Catawba's road loss at Lincoln Memorial earlier in the day.
Anderson (8-21, 4-9 SAC) totaled 16 hits highlighted by William Thomas' 5-for-6 performance and three hits from Dillon Carpenter, including his one-out solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
The Pioneers were held to seven hits, but drew a dozen walks on the evening, including four by Colby Skeen to tie a Tusculum single-game record.
Nick Lacina, the reigning SAC Player of the Week, continued his torrid hitting of late as he went 3-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 12 consecutive games.
TC senior John Topoleski drove in the first two runs of the game. In the first inning, Skeen and Lacina reached on back-to-back, two-out singles and Topoleski followed with TC's third straight hit of the inning to plate Skeen. In the third inning, Jeremy Glore led off with a single, while Skeen and Lacina followed with consecutive walks to load the bases. Topoleski reached on a RBI fielder's choice to bring in Glore. Skeen later scored on a wild pitch while Lacina moved onto third. Dante Key recorded his team-leading fourth sacrifice fly to score Lacina as the Pioneers led 4-1.
The Trojans answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame as AU recorded five singles, including RBI hits from Carpenter, Xavier Peralta and Zach McIlroy as TC led 4-3.
Tusculum added a run in the fourth inning as Glore drew a one-out walk, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Lacina's fielder's choice as the Pioneers led 5-3.
The score would remain that way until the bottom of the sixth when Stephen McKnight drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a bunt. A ground out moved McKnight to third base and he later scored on a wild pitch from TC starter Ethan Carpenter as AU edged closer at 5-4.
Both teams had opportunities late in the game to score as TC left six runners on base in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, combined, but were denied by Anderson reliever Andrew Dill who pitched 5.2 shutout innings as he worked around four walks, one hit while striking out six.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Trojans drew a pair of walks as they had the tying and go-ahead runs aboard with one out. TC reliever Dalton Boslooper came on and got an inning-ending double play to preserve the one run lead. He pitched a perfect eighth inning and headed to the ninth with the one-run advantage. He struck out Carson Barrett, but gave up a home run to Carpenter to tie the game at 5-5. Peralta followed with an infield single to put the winning run on base. McAllister relieved Boslooper and posted a strikeout and a flyout to end the frame and send the game to extra frames.
After Tusculum was retired 1-2-3 in the top of the 10th, Anderson tried to mount a two-out rally with back-to-back singles from Avery Green and Thomas. But McAllister thwarted the threat with a fly out to send the game to the 11th.
Skeen led off the inning with his fourth walk of the game and was pinch ran for by Seth DeHaven. Lacina singled to center to put runners at first and second. Topoleski laid down a bunt to move the runners into scoring position and Key was intentionally walked to load the bases for Martin. Martin drew the walk to bring in DeHaven with the go-ahead run to make the score, 6-5. Reliever Tyler Vaughan ended the inning with double play as AU trailed by a run.
In the bottom of the 11th, McIlroy got on base with a two-out single, but McAllister completed the victory as he got a ground out to end the game.
McAllister (1-0) scattered three hits and posted two strikeouts to record his first Tusculum victory. AU's Evan Small (1-1) suffered the loss in the relief.
Topoleski's bunt was the 33rd in his TC career and he is one sacrifice shy of matching the school record held by Tripper Crisson (34).
Both teams had their chances as the two clubs left a combined 29 runners on base (AU 15, TC 14).
The two teams will wrap up the three-game SAC series with Saturday's 1 p.m. doubleheader from Memorial Stadium.