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Pioneers upset Lincoln Memorial 5-3 to advance to SAC semifinals

Pioneers upset Lincoln Memorial 5-3 to advance to SAC semifinals

HARROGATE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum men's tennis team defeated Lincoln Memorial 5-3 in a South Atlantic Conference Championship quarterfinal match on Wednesday afternoon.

The 35th-ranked Pioneers (15-7), seeded sixth in the tournament, advanced to Friday's semifinals against second-seeded Wingate which will be played at 1 p.m. at the Cayce Tennis Center in Columbia, South Carolina. Wingate advanced with a 5-0 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne in a quarterfinal match on Wednesday.

The Pioneers led 2-1 after doubles against the third-seeded Railsplitters (12-7), then picked up three straight-set victories to win their first conference tournament match since 2015 and avenge a 5-1 loss to the Railsplitters in last year's tournament. It was also the second win for the Pioneers on the road against Lincoln Memorial this season, following a 5-4 victory in the regular-season match on March 21.

In doubles, Toby de Klerk and Yago Fernandez defeated Jake Tuchmann and Moritz Hoerner 8-2 at flight one, and Gabriel Yaguar teamed with Jorge Cervantes for an 8-2 victory at flight three over Xavier Marti and Constantin Ernstberger at flight three.

In singles, Yaguar beat Iker Tomas Moure 6-2, 6-4 at flight five and David Akinpetide was a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Hoerner at flight six as the Pioneers jumped to a 4-2 lead. The Railsplitters cut the deficit to 4-3 with a win at flight two, but Cervantes finished off a 6-4, 6-3 victory over David Segarra at flight four just before Fernandez completed a win over Marti at flight three, sending Tusculum to the semifinal round.

Tusculum has not played Wingate in the SAC Tournament since falling in back-to-back championship matches in 2014 and 2015. The Bulldogs have beaten the Pioneers in the last four meetings in the conference tournament, since a Tusculum victory in the semifinal round in 2009. Wingate defeated Tusculum 5-4 in the regular-season meeting between the teams on April 9 at Wingate.

The other semifinal match will also be played at 1 p.m. on Friday between top-seeded Queens and fourth-seeded Newberry. The winners will meet at noon on Saturday for the conference championship.

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