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Pioneers edged 5-4 at No. 16 Nova Southeastern

Pioneers edged 5-4 at No. 16 Nova Southeastern

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. --- Bryan Diaz hit a one-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead 16th-ranked Nova Southeastern to a 5-4 win over visiting Tusculum Saturday night at the NSU Baseball Complex.

The Sharks (1-1) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit and scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at 4-4.

The Pioneers (0-1) finished the game with nine hits led by the three-hit performances of right-fielder Brandon Trammell and shortstop Jaden Steagall.  Trammell accounted for a pair of RBI doubles, while Steagall also finished with two RBI in the loss. TU second baseman Daulton Martin accounted for a pair of hits and a stolen base for the Pioneers.

Tusculum plated two runs in the top of the first inning as Martin led off the game with hit and scored on Trammell's double to right field off of NSU starting pitcher Nathan Campbell. With two outs, Steagall came through with a clutch RBI single to bring home Trammell with the inning's second run.

TU added another scoring tally in the third inning as Trammell reached on a one-out hit and moved to second on a single by Fuzzy Furry. After a strikeout, Steagall answered again with another two-out base hit to increase the Tusculum lead to 3-2.

The Sharks used a pair of Tusculum errors in the bottom of third to get to within a run at 3-2.  Brandon Chinea led off with an infield hit and moved to second on a throwing.  A second fielding error placed runners on the corners with no outs. Nathan Chevalier doubled to right field to bring home the first run of the game for Nova.  Back-to-back walks by TU starter Gunnar Becker loaded the bases and brought home the second run of the inning.

TU veteran reliever Mitch McCain took over for Becker and struck out the next two batters and got a ground out to end the threat and preserve the Tusculum lead at 3-2.

In the top of the fifth inning, Martin led off with his second hit of the evening and Trammell responded with his second double of the game to push the TU lead to 4-2.

Nova plated two runs in the bottom of the sixth as Adan Fernandez and Diaz led off the frame with singles. McCain got a strikeout and a fly out as NSU has runners on the corners. Nova pulled off a double steal as Diaz stole second and Fernandez stole home.  Alex Hernandez tied the game with his two-out single to left field.

In the top of the eighth inning, Fuzzy Furr drew a lead-off walk and pinch runner Daalen Adderley came in and proceeded to steal second.  NSU reliever Lucas Reid induced an infield pop-up for the first out.  Jacob Bove took over on the mound and got a pair of ground outs to end the TU threat.

TU reliever Trent Collins, who was pitching in his second inning, worked around a two-out walk to send the game to the ninth.

Bove retired the Pioneers in order in the top of the inning as Nova came to the plate to face Carter Linton.

Tyler Epstein led off with a single to right and moved to third on Duncan Pastore's double. On the play Pastore was caught in a run-down at second for the first out of the inning as Epstein stayed at third. Andrew Labosky was intentionally walked and later stole second. Fernandez was credited with an infield hit that did not advance the runners but loaded the bases with one out. Diaz singled to right field to bring home Epstein with the winning run.

Bove (1-0) picked up the victory as he went 1.2 innings and retired all five Pioneers he would face, while Linton (0-1) suffered the loss.

Collins pitched two shutout innings for the Pioneers, allowing one hit, two walks and two strikeouts. McCain tossed four innings allowing four hits, two runs, no walks and fanned five.

Tusculum continues its Florida road swing as they travel to Lynn University on Sunday for a 12 p.m. contest with the Fighting Knights.

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