GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum's Nick Flesher and Sam Loew combined a three-hit shutout in the opener as the Pioneers split a non-conference baseball doubleheader with Belmont Abbey Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Park.
Tusculum posted its second shutout of the weekend by winning the first game 9-0, before the Crusaders won the night-cap 3-2 for The Abbey's first win of 2020.
TU (3-4) wins the weekend series 2-1 over Belmont Abbey and will travel to arch-rival Carson-Newman this Wednesday afternoon for 2 p.m. non-conference contest at the Silver Diamond Complex.
Game 1: Tusculum 9, Belmont Abbey 0
Tusculum made the most of its five hits, seven walks and six hit batsmen in a 9-0 victory over the Crusaders for the second straight shutout of the weekend. TU blanked Belmont Abbey 3-0 in Saturday's home opener.
Flesher (1-0) scattered three hits and one walk in the 20 batters he faced over his five innings of work, while posting five strikeouts. Loew recorded his first TU save as he faced the minimum 12 batters pitching in the final four frames including a stretch where the first nine before giving up a walk in the final inning and ended the game with a double play.
Tusculum plated two runs each in its first two innings as Daulton Martin and Bryson Ford were hit by pitches and both would score on Brandon Trammell's third double of the season. In the second inning, Jordan Beaver was hit by a pitch with one out, moved to second on a ground out and scored on Ford's RBI triple to left field. Ford would touch the plate when Trammell reached base on a throwing error for a 4-0 TU lead.
Tusculum shortstop Daalen Adderley belted a three-run homer down the left field line that just stayed fair to extend the lead to 7-0. In the seven inning, Jaden Steagall led off with a single and later scored on Beaver's sacrifice fly out. In the eighth inning Trammell and Fuzzy Furr were both hit by pitches with one out. Luis Ezra lined out to left field for a sacrifice fly to make the score, 9-0.
Belmont Abbey starter Jason White (0-2) went 4.2 innings in the loss, while Loew led all players with six strikeouts.
The Crusaders Mason Dodd accounted for two of The Abbey's three hits in the game.
Game 2: Belmont Abbey 3, Tusculum 2
Belmont Abbey's Zach Aehlert recorded three doubles including his RBI two-bagger in the fifth inning that drove in the eventual game-winning run as the Crusaders salvaged a 3-2 victory in the weekend finale.
Mitchell Keener (1-0) pitched two shutout innings in relief to post his first win of the year, while Austin Hunter retired all six batters he would face to record the save for the Crusaders.
Belmont Abbey plated an unearned run in the top of the first inning when Dodd reached first on a wild pitch when he swung on strike three. Ben Gobbel doubled to left field, moving Dodd to third base, but on the play, the ball was bobbled in the outfield allowing the The Abbey's first run of the weekend.
TU answered in the bottom of the first as Daulton Martin broke the Tusculum record with his 55th career double. He moved to third on a ground out and scored on Trammell's sacrifice fly.
Tusculum took a 2-1 lead in the third inning when Martin led off with a single, moved to second on a bunt, stole third base and scored on an errant throw by Aehlert on the steal.
In the fourth inning, Patrick Taylor reached on a two-out, two-base throwing error and scored on Gobbel's single to tie the game at 2-2.
The Crusaders took the lead for good in the fifth as Ben Sneider led off with a walk by TU relief pitcher Trevor Lloyd. Sneider moved to second on a ground out and scored on Aehlert's second double of the game as The Abbey led 3-2.
Tusculum had great opportunity in the bottom of the fifth inning as the Pioneers loaded the bases with one out. But Keener got out of the jam with a strikeout and a fielder's choice to end the threat.
Hunter would come on in the sixth and retired the side in each of the final two innings including three strikeouts to preserve the win for the visitors.