HARTSVILLE, S.C. --- A pair of late-inning rallies boosted Tusculum College to a sweep of its South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader with Coker College on Sunday afternoon. The Pioneers (17-21, 3-7 SAC) won the opener 5-3, then held on for a 5-4 victory in nine innings in game two over the Cobras (11-24-1, 2-8 SAC).
The victory in game two was the 100th career win for Pioneer
head coach Julie Huebner, who is 100-85 in four seasons with
Tusculum including the 2013 SAC championship.
Tusculum returns to Red Edmonds Field on Tuesday afternoon
against Mars Hill. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for
Game 1: Tusculum 5, Coker 3 - box score
Rachel Wisner hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning to give the Pioneers the victory over the Cobras in the opener.
Carolyn Williamson went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored for the Pioneers, while Jordan Keene finished 2-for-4 with an RBI in the victory. Cayla Cecil (6-5) earned the win for Tusculum with 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief, including strikeouts of four of the seven batters she faced.
Tusculum jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Coker starter Augusta Jackson. Williamson doubled with one out, and Robin Stoner and Jenna Restivo followed with walks to load the bases. Emily Hester hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Williamson with the first run, and Keene added an RBI single to bring home Stoner for a 2-0 advantage.
Coker got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second on a solo home run by Tayler Barcomb off Tusculum starter Eliza Davis, but the Pioneers got a run back in the top of the fourth against Cobras reliever Tabitha Allen. Morgan Mahaffey reached on a bunt single and advanced to third base with one out. Taylor Battle drew a walk and stole second, and Mahaffey scored on a throwing error for a 3-1 Pioneer lead.
Coker threatened in the fourth as they loaded the bases with one out, but Davis got out of trouble on a strikeout and a groundout to keep the Pioneers on top 3-1.
The Cobras knotted the score in the bottom of the fifth with two outs as Riley Morris singled and Maria Williamson followed with a two-run home run to right-center to even the game at 3-3.
In the sixth, Taylor Forehand came on in relief for the Cobras and struck out Keene, who reached first on a wild pitch. Pinch-runner Taylor Lewis stole second, and Wisner delivered her first home run of the season to left field to give the Pioneers a 5-3 lead.
Cecil, who came on to strike out Barcomb to end the fifth, fanned two batters in the sixth and added another in the seventh before retiring the side on a fly ball to left and a popup to second.
Davis worked 4 2/3 innings for the Pioneers in the opener, allowing three earned runs on six hits with one strikeout and two walks. Forehand (2-11) was charged with the loss after giving up two runs on two hits while striking out four.
Game 2: Tusculum 5, Coker 4 (9 innings) - box score
The Pioneers scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie, then survived a bases-loaded threat in the bottom of the ninth to cap off the sweep of the Cobras.
Williamson went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and the go-ahead single in the top of the ninth, while Stoner and Restivo each finished with two hits. Cecil (7-5) worked all nine innings for the Pioneers, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits while striking out four and walking seven.
Coker scored a run without a hit in the first inning as the Cobras loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter, then scored on a fielder's choice. The Cobras added a run in the second on an RBI single by Morris to go on top 2-0 against Pioneer starter Cecil.
Tusculum tied the score 2-2 in the top of the third off Coker starter Allen as Williamson doubled with one out and scored when Stoner hit her second home run of the season to right-center field. The Cobras came back in the bottom of the third to take a 3-2 lead on an RBI double by Maria Williamson, and Allen held the lead through the fourth and fifth.
In the sixth, Restivo led off with a double, and Hester came through with a one-out single to score pinch-runner Miranda Beeler and tie the game at 3-3. Both teams had chances to score in the seventh, but left runners at first and second to send the game to extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth, the Pioneers grabbed the lead in the top of the ninth with two runs off Forehand, who relieved Allen to start the eighth. Morgan Ward started the inning on second base via international tiebreaker, and came home on a two-out single by Williamson for a 4-3 Tusculum lead. After a single by Stoner, Restivo delivered an RBI single to bring home Williamson and give the Pioneers a 5-3 lead.
Coker came back with a run in the bottom of the ninth as Ashley Gallman picked up an RBI single. After a strikeout, the Cobras loaded the bases on back-to-back walks, but Cecil retired the final batter on a popup to Wisner at the plate to nail down the sweep.
Morris, Gallman and Courtney Boan each had two hits in the nightcap for the Cobras, who saw Allen give up eight hits and three runs in seven innings with two walks and two strikeouts. Forehand (2-12) surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits with a walk and a strikeout.
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