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Plemons pitches Pioneers to sweep over No. 21 Wingate

Plemons pitches Pioneers to sweep over No. 21 Wingate

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Taylor Plemons pitched 11 shutout innings as she accounted for both wins in Tusculum University's South Atlantic Conference sweep over 21st-ranked Wingate University Saturday afternoon at Red Edmonds Field.

Plemons tossed four shutout innings in relief as Tusculum rallied with three runs in the sixth inning to win 5-4 over the Bulldogs. In the night-cap, Plemons tossed a seven-hitter in TU's 4-0 victory over Wingate.

It is Tusculum's first-ever sweep over a NCAA Division II ranked opponent and its first doubleheader twin-killing over Wingate since Mar. 19, 2011.

Tusculum senior outfielder Taylor Battle tied a program record with her 61st career stolen base, matching the career total posted by Becki Jones from 1991-1994.  She also notched her 16th career triple in Saturday's second game, moving her into sole possession of third place in the TU record book.

Game 1: Tusculum 5, No. 21 Wingate 4

Anna Alloway drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth as TU erased a 4-2 deficit in a 5-4 victory over the nationally-ranked Bulldogs.

Tusculum scored a run each in the first and second innings.  In the first, Alexis Grampp was hit by a pitch, moved to second on Emily Hester's double and scored on a Grayson Brown sacrifice fly.  In the second, Taylor Johnson led off with a single, moved to second on a bunt and later scored on a two-out single by Brittney Franse as the Pioneers led 2-0.

The Bulldogs exploded for four runs in the third frame as the first four WU batters reached base.  Sam Hogan led off with a double and moved to third on Haley Cashwell's single.  Sapp singled home the Bulldogs' first run of the day and both Sapp and Cashwell scored on Mary Claire Coyne's three-run homer to right field as the Bulldogs led 4-2.

In the fourth inning, Jordan Floyd led off with a double to chase TU starter Ivee Richesin out of the game and bring on Plemons as she got out of the inning with three straight outs, including a strikeout of Sapp. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Hester led off with a walk and Emily White came on to pinch-run for her.  Brown singled to move White to second base.  Tori West pinch-ran for Brown as Sammie West singled up the middle to bring in White to make it a 4-3 game.  Aubrey Reep, who started the game was later relieved, returned to the circle.

Johnson lined a grounder to Cashwell but the ball took a crazy hop that ricocheted straight to Hogan who was covering at second base to get the force out of Sammie West in a bang-bang play for the first out of the inning.  Caitlyn Brinkley pinch ran for Johnson at first base as Emma Casey tied the game with her RBI single down the left field line to bring home Tori West for a 4-4 contest.

Alloway stepped to the plate and lifted a double to left center field to drive in Brinkley with the go-ahead run, but pinch-runner Bree Whitson was thrown out at the plate but the Pioneers had a 5-4 lead.

In the seventh, Plemons got the first out of the inning on a ground out.  Sapp drew a walk and moved to second on Coyne's ground out.  Reep walked to put the go-ahead run base.  Elizabeth Swenson lined a missile off her bat to left field, but Battle made the catch to end the game.

Plemons allowed one hit in 15 batters she faced as she walked two and struck out one in her four shutout innings for the win.  Rachel Weidner suffered the loss to fall to 12-6 on the year.

Game 2: Tusculum 4, No. 21 Wingate 0

Plemons continued her mastery in the circle as she tossed her second shutout of the season and seventh of her career, tying her for fifth place in Tusculum history with Christa Shaw (1991-1994) and Erin Searcy (2010-2011).

Battle went 2-for-4 with her SAC-leading fifth triple of the season as the Pioneers finished with nine hits in the second game.

Both Plemons and Wingate starting pitcher Kaitlyn Knuckles blanked the opposition through the first three innings as both teams had chances to dent the scoreboard.

TU had the best opportunity in the third inning when Battle hit a one-out triple to right field.  Grampp tried a suicide squeeze, but the bunt went back to Knuckles who got Battle out at the plate.

Tusculum broke through in the fourth inning Sammie West led off with a single and moved to second base on an outfield fielding error. West moved to third on a ground out and later scored on Franse's second two-out, run-scoring hit of the game as TU led 1-0.

The Pioneers tacked on three runs in the fifth inning thanks to a Brown RBI double and a Sammie West sacrifice fly.  Casey drove in the final run of the game on her base hit up the middle as TU led 4-0.

Plemons retired the Bulldogs in order in the sixth and headed to the seventh with a four-run lead.  In the seventh, she surrendered a one-out single to Swenson and a double to Loney as Wingate had runners in scoring position with one out.  But Plemons got an infield pop-up followed by a strikeout to end the game and complete the sweep.

Plemons (5-4) went the distance as she walked none and struck out three in her 102 pitches in the circle. Knuckles suffers the loss (1-2) going 4.2 innings, allowed four runs, three earned, two walks and a strikeout.

Tusculum returns to action on Sunday when they host region foe Young Harris College for a 2 p.m. doubleheader at Red Edmonds Field.

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