Seventh-inning rallies enable Lenoir-Rhyne to sweep Tusculum

Seventh-inning rallies enable Lenoir-Rhyne to sweep Tusculum

A pair of seventh-inning rallies enabled Lenoir-Rhyne University to sweep a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader from Tusculum College on Saturday. The Bears (27-7, 6-0 SAC) scored three runs in the seventh to defeat the Pioneers 6-3 in the opener, then tallied twice in the seventh in game two for a 2-1 victory as the Bears' Jordin Phillips knocked in the go-ahead runs in each game.

The Pioneers (15-19, 1-5 SAC) return to action Tuesday afternoon at Lincoln Memorial, with first pitch of game one scheduled for 2 p.m.

Game 1: Lenoir-Rhyne 6, Tusculum 3 - box score
The Bears scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-0 lead, only to see the Pioneers come back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. However, Lenoir-Rhyne put together three runs on four hits in the top of the seventh to earn the victory.

Erin Boone and Madison Carter each went 3-for-4 for the Bears, while Phillips, Christina Walker and Dakota Keller each had a pair of hits as part of a 14-hit attack from Lenoir-Rhyne. Emily Hester led the Pioneers at the plate as she went 2-for-3 with a run scored, but Tusculum finished with just five hits in the game.

Tusculum starter Eliza Davis escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first, then avoided a run in the second as left fielder Taylor Battle threw out Keller at the plate to end the inning. A double-play grounder off the bat of Phillips ended the Lenoir-Rhyne third, but the Pioneers could manage just one hit through three innings against Bears starter Emily Kenley.

In the fourth, Lenoir-Rhyne scored three runs on a two-run single by Madison Poe and an RBI double by Boone. The Pioneers' rally began in the bottom of the fourth as Jordan Keene led off with a single and Robin Stoner followed with a walk. Hester reached on an infield single to load the bases for Treslyn Reese, who singled to center to score pinch-runner Miranda Beeler and cut the Bears lead to 3-1.

After a strikeout, Morgan Ward was hit by a pitch to force home Stoner and pull the Pioneers within 3-2. Brandi Parks relieved Kenley for Lenoir-Rhyne, but walked Rachel Wisner with the bases loaded to bring home Hester and tie the score at 3-3.

The game remained tied untilt he top of the seventh, when the Bears loaded the bases with no outs on three straight singles. Phillips then singled up the middle to bring home two runs and give the Bears a 5-3 lead, and a wild pitch from reliever Taylor Plemons allowed another run to score and extend the Lenoir-Rhyne lead to 6-3.

Kenley worked 3 1/3 innings for the Bears, allowing four hits and three earned runs with four strikeouts and two walks. Parks (8-0) pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for the win, allowing one hit and striking out three while walking a pair. Maryann Hoskins came on in the seventh and pitched a perfect inning for her second save of the year.

Davis (8-10) surrendered 14 hits and six runs (three earned) in six-plus innings for the Pioneers, before giving way to Plemons who was not charged with a run.

Game 2: Lenoir-Rhyne 2, Tusculum 1 - box score
Tusculum righthander Cayla Cecil took a 1-0 lead into the top of the seventh, but the Bears scored twice to spoil the shutout and escape with the sweep of the doubleheader. Meanwhile, Hoskins struck out 10 and allowed four hits to improve her record to 8-4.

Tusculum scored its run in the bottom of the first inning as Taylor Battle reached on an infield single then stole second base. When the throw hit her leg and bounced into the outfield, Battle came all the way around to score and give the Pioneers a quick 1-0 lead.

Cecil left two runners on base in the second and another in the fifth, before running into a jam in the sixth. The Bears loaded the bases on a walk to Carter, a single by Phillips and a single by Sarah Kenley, but a line drive off the bat of Keller was hit right at Carolyn Williamson in center field, who made the grab to keep the Pioneers on top 1-0.

In the seventh, Poe reached on an error to lead off the inning and Cassie Healy followed with a single. After a sacrifice from Boone and a walk to Walker, Carter came through with a single to right field to tie the game at 1-1. Phillips then delivered a sacrifice fly to left to bring home Healy with the go-ahead run, and Hoskins retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning.

Battle led the Pioneers at the plate by going 2-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt and two stolen bases, giving her a SAC-leading 23 steals this season. Keene and Ward had the other hits for the Pioneers, while Kenley paced the Bears at the plate in the nightcap by going 2-for-3.

Cecil (5-4) was the hard-luck loser for the Pioneers, as she allowed six hits and four walks while striking out two and not allowing an earned run. Hoskins walked one and fanned 10 while throwing 104 pitches in the complete-game effort for the Bears.

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