Tusculum splits SAC opener at Brevard

Tusculum splits SAC opener at Brevard

BREVARD, N.C. --- The Tusculum College softball team opened its South Atlantic Conference schedule Tuesday afternoon with a split of a doubleheader at Brevard College. The Pioneers pounded out 14 hits in a 9-1 five-inning victory in game two after the Tornados (11-19, 1-3 SAC) won the opener 4-0 behind 13 strikeouts from Jamie Hrobak.

The Pioneers (15-15, 1-1 SAC) return home to Red Edmonds Field to play Queens University on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Game 1: Brevard 4, Tusculum 0 - box score
Hrobak (8-10) allowed four hits and one walk while striking out 13 in the victory. The Tornados scored two runs in the first and two more in the fifth in support of Hrobak, who threw 85 of her 115 pitches for strikes.

Brevard took a 1-0 lead in the first against Tusculum starter Eliza Davis on a sacrifice fly by Kinsey Parrish, and added another run on a double by Paige Atkison. Tusculum nearly cut the lead in half in the fourth when Carolyn Williamson led off with a triple, but Hrobak struck out the next three Pioneer batters to preserve the 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, the Tornados added two more runs on a two-run double to right field by Atkison, who finished 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs in the game.

Tusculum threatened in the sixth after Taylor Battle led off with a single and stole second, but Hrobak set down the side without further damage. In the seventh, Morgan Ward reached on a two-out infield single, but Hrobak recorded her 13th strikeout to end the game.

Williamson led the Pioneers at the plate as she went 1-for-2 with a walk in three at-bats. Ricki Kuhn joined Atkison in going 2-for-3 for the Tornados, while Lauren Parker was 1-for-3 and scored twice.

Davis (7-8) worked six innings for the Pioneers, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with six strikeout and one walk.

Game 2: Tusculum 9, Brevard 1 (5 innings) - box score
The Pioneers scored five runs in the third and four more in the fourth to take a 9-0 lead, and Davis (8-8) allowed one unearned run on three hits in her second complete game of the afternoon.

Williamson finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs, while Emily Hester drove in three runs for the Pioneers and Miranda Beeler went 3-for-3 with two stolen bases and a pair of runs scored.

Williamson nearly gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as she hit a ball to the fence in deep right-center and tried to circle the bases. However, she was ruled out at the plate and was credited with her second triple of the day.

The Pioneers broke through in the third against Tornados starter Kuhn as Rachel Wisner reached on a single and took second on an error with one out. Beeler then beat out a bunt single and Wisner scored on an errant throw to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead.

Beeler stole second and moved to third on a bunt single by Battle, who also stole second. Williamson then reached on an infield single to bring home Beeler for a 2-0 Pioneer lead. A bunt single by Robin Stoner plated Battle with the Pioneers' third run of the inning, and Hester greeted reliever Hrobak with a squeeze bunt that brought in Williamson and gave Tusculum a 4-0 lead. Another error from the Tornados enabled Stoner to score the fifth and final run of the frame for the Pioneers.

In the fourth, Bailey Culler led off with a double and pinch-runner Taylor Lewis moved to third on a bunt. After an infield single from Beeler, Williamson delivered a two-out, two run single that brought home both runners for a 7-0 Tusculum lead. Following a single by Stoner, Hester roped a double to right-center that brought home two more runs and gave the Pioneers a 9-0 lead.

Down to their last three outs in the fifth, Brevard scored a run on a throwing error and had a runner in scoring position with one out, but Davis induced a groundout and strikeout to end the game by run rule.

Culler went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Pioneers, while Stoner was 2-for-3 and scored a pair of runs. Tusculum stole five bases without being caught in the game, increasing their conference-leading total to 77.

Davis needed just 76 pitches to navigate the five innings for the Pioneers, striking out two and walking one. The complete game was her team-best seventh of the season.

Kuhn (3-9) allowed six hits and five runs (four earned) in 2 1/3 innings for the Tornados, while Hrobak was roughed up for eight hits and four earned runs in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

- TC -