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Tusculum wins two on final day of Pioneer Classic

Tusculum wins two on final day of Pioneer Classic
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. ---

The Tusculum College softball team extended its winning streak to six games with a pair of victories Sunday at the Pioneer Classic, held on Red Edmonds Field. The Pioneers (10-5) beat Goldey-Beacom 5-1 in morning action, and defeated Shepherd 2-1 in eight innings in the final game of the tournament Sunday night.

The Pioneers will remain home on Wednesday to host Lee University in a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.

Tusculum 5, Goldey-Beacom 1 - box score
Eliza Davis pitched a four-hitter for the Pioneers, while Taylor Battle went 3-for-3 with a stolen base and a run scored and Carolyn Williamson was 2-for-4 with two RBIs at the plate and saved two runs in the field with a diving catch in center.

Davis (4-3) allowed a sixth-inning run, but stranded the bases loaded before pitching a perfect seventh to nail down the win. She struck out three and walked one while throwing 103 pitches in the victory.

Tusculum took the lead in the bottom of the third against Goldey-Beacom (1-2) as Rachel Wisner reached on an error with one out, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Battle and scored on a single to shallow right field by Williamson.

Both teams left two runners on base in the fourth inning, with Goldey-Beacom nearly taking the lead in their half of the inning as Paulynn Mao hit a liner to right-center with runners on first and second. However, Williamson made a diving catch to preserve the Pioneers' 1-0 lead.

The Pioneers added to their lead with three runs in the fifth against Lightning starter Kylie Doyle. Battle reached on a one-out bunt single and stole second. Williamson followed with an infield single and stole second to put runners at second and third for Jordan Keene, who reached on an infield single as Battle scored on an overthrow. Williamson would later score on a wild pitch and Keene crossed the plate on another throwing error to extend the Pioneer lead to 4-0.

The Lightning got on the board in the top of the sixth on three consecutive two-out singles, the last coming from Alivia Schoff to drive home the first run of the game for Goldey-Beacom. However, Davis got a comebacker with the bases loaded to end the threat, and retired the side in the seventh on a line drive, ground out and popup.

Doyle (0-1) allowed eight hits and five runs (two earned) in six innings for the Lightning, with three strikeouts and one walk. Schoff was the only player in the Goldey-Beacom lineup with more than one hit, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Tusculum stole five bases as a team in the game, including two by Williamson and one each from Battle, Keene and pinch-runner Taylor Lewis.

Tusculum 2, Shepherd 1 - box score
Emily Hester delivered the winning hit in the Pioneers' final at-bat for the second straight night with a double to left field in the top of the eighth inning, and Cayla Cecil preserved her fifth win of the season in the bottom of the inning to cap off a 3-0 weekend for the Pioneers.

Hester, who had a walkoff double in a 3-2 win over Ursuline on Saturday night, came through with the game-tying single in the sixth inning against Shepherd, then slammed a double to left with two outs in the eighth to bring home Battle with the go-ahead run.

Cecil (5-0) allowed five hits and one earned run for the Pioneers, striking out three and walking none. Cecil lowered her season earned run average to 2.07 with her performance against the Rams (2-2).

After the Rams left two on base in the first, the Pioneers threatened in the second as Stoner led off with a double and Hester was hit by a pitch. After Morgan Mahaffey drew a walk to load the bases with one out, Shepherd pitcher Tara Hanson got out of trouble with a strikeout and a fly ball.

The Rams put two on with one out in the third, and Cecil engaged Morgan Cox in an epic 14-pitch at-bat that featured seven consecutive foul balls with a full count. On the 14th pitch, Cox grounded to third where Bailey Culler started an across-the-diamond double play to keep the game scoreless.

Shepherd took the lead in the bottom of the fourth when pinch-runner Sarah North stole second and scored on a two-out single by Connor Gilligan.

Hanson preserved the lead into the sixth, when Keene walked with one out and gave way to pinch-runner Harper Ford, who stole second. With two outs, Hester grounded a ball into center field for a single that allowed Ford to easily score the tying run.

Shepherd looked to win the game in the bottom of the seventh as Gilligan led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice, but Cecil got a comebacker and a fly ball to Battle in left to send the game to extra innings.

In the eighth, Battle led off at second base in the international tiebreak, and was still there after Stoner walked with two outs. Hester then drilled a 2-0 pitch to the fence in left, allowing Battle to score the go-ahead run.

Shepherd had a final chance in the last of the eighth as leadoff hitter Courtney Clemons started the frame at second base, but she remained there as Cecil retired the Rams on a line drive to Culler at third, a popup to Hester at first and a groundout to Stoner at short.

Hanson (1-1) was the hard-luck loser for the Rams, allowing just three hits and one earned run in eight innings of work, with five strikeouts and four walks. Gilligan led the way at the plate for Shepherd, finishing 2-for-3 with the team's lone run batted in.

- TC -

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