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Pioneers close season with doubleheader split at Lenoir-Rhyne

Pioneers close season with doubleheader split at Lenoir-Rhyne

HICKORY, N.C. --- The Tusculum University softball team wrapped up its 2019 season with a split of a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader with Lenoir-Rhyne University Monday afternoon.

Lenoir-Rhyne beat Tusculum 11-6 in game one, and the Pioneers (22-20, 8-12 SAC) held on in game two for an 8-7 win over the Bears (26-18, 9-10 SAC).

Game 1: Lenoir-Rhyne 11, Tusculum 6
Anna Alloway drove in five runs for the Pioneers with a two-run double in the first and a three-run home run in the third, but Talon LaClair went 4-for-4 and knocked in five runs to lead the Bears to the win in the opener.

Lenoir-Rhyne outhit Tusculum 14-7 in game one and scored all 11 of its runs in the first three innings, plating three in the first, four in the second and four more in the third. Savannah Moorefield was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and Taylor Beard went 2-for-4 along with Macie Gibson for the Bears.

Alloway went 3-for-3 for Tusculum in the opener, while Sammie West was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Alloway's two-run double in the first drove in West and Taylor Johnson for a quick 2-0 Pioneer lead.

The Bears came back with three runs in their half of the first on an RBI single by LaClair and a two-run double from Mackensi Swain. Lenoir-Rhyne tacked on four more runs in the second on an RBI single by Moorefield, a run-scoring double by Erin Boone and a two-run single from LaClair for an 7-3 Bears lead.

Tusculum narrowed the deficit to 7-6 in the third as West and Emily Hester drew back-to-back walks and Alloway slammed her fourth home run of the season. Lenoir-Rhyne responded with its second straight four-run inning which included a two-run double from LaClair and an RBI single by Kylee Leonhardt.

The Pioneers closed out the scoring in the top of the sixth as Alloway led off with a single and Brittney Franse brought home pinch-runner Emily White with a two-out single.

Ivee Richesin (7-8) started and pitched 1 1/3 innings for the Pioneers, allowing seven runs on eight hits. Taylor Plemons threw the final 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out three.

For the Bears, Brandi Parks (18-9) worked four innings and gave up five runs on three hits and three walks. Emily Kenley scattered one run on four hits over the final three innings for her first save of the season.

Game 2: Tusculum 8, Lenoir-Rhyne 7
Tusculum banged out 17 hits in game two, including three apiece by West, Johnson and Taylor Battle, while Hester was 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and Alloway went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Franse was 2-for-4 with a run scored as the Pioneers built an 8-3 lead before the Bears rallied with a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth.

Moorefield was 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored out of the leadoff spot for the Bears, while Leonhardt and Gibson each went 2-for-4 and Swain drove in a pair of runs.

Tusculum grabbed a quick 3-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Hester and a two-run single from Alloway, but Lenoir-Rhyne countered with three of its own in the bottom of the first on a two-run double by Swain and an RBI single by Beard. The Pioneers responded with four runs in the top of the second on a two-run single from Johnson and RBI singles by Alloway and Emma Casey.

An RBI single by Hester extended the Tusculum lead to 8-3 in the fifth, but Lenoir-Rhyne got a run back in the home half of the fifth on a solo homer by Moorefield. In the sixth, Moorefield went deep again with two runners on base to bring the Bears within 8-7. Tusculum left the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, but Plemons closed the Bears out in order in the bottom of the seventh to lock down the win.

Plemons (9-6) gave up 10 hits and seven earned runs, while striking out three and hitting four batters with pitches. Kenley (7-7) started for Lenoir-Rhyne and allowed 10 hits and seven runs in 1 2/3 innings, with Hannah Jennings yielding a run on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of relief and Parks getting the last two outs of the seventh.

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