GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum University softball is set to partake in the Bearcat/Fleet Invitational, hosted by Lander and Erskine, from Feb. 14-15. The Pioneers will look to tie the program's best start (6-0) on Valentine's Day with wins over Belmont Abbey and Lander, and surpass it against preseason No. 5 Young Harris and Erskine on Saturday.
RECAPPING THE WEEK
The doubleheader versus Davis & Elkins was canceled. Game one was in progress, but fell one out shy of being ruled an official contest. Therefore, the statistics accumulated do not count.
Despite not playing this week, Tusculum rates highly in numerous statistical categories, both nationally and across the conference. As a team, the Pioneers are top-15 in the country in win/loss percentage (t-1st, 1.000), hit batters (t-1st, 1), scoring (6th, 10.50), on base percentage (8th, .463), WHIP (11th, .91), slugging percentage (12th, .569), and doubles per game (12th, 2.25).
Individually, Anna Alloway is ranked within the top-10 across the nation in runs per game (2nd, 2.00), walks per game (2nd, 1.75), on base percentage (5th, .824), slugging percentage (6th, 1.300), runs batted in per game (8th, 2.00), and batting average (9th, .700). Thus far in her freshman season, Madison Michael is tied for first throughout the nation in earned run average (0.00) and hit batters (1), while third in both hits allowed per seven innings (1.75) and WHIP (.33). Alexis Grampp and Grayson Brown are also having solid starts to their senior campaign. Grampp is second in triples per game (.50), fourth in RBI per game (2.25), and fourth in triples (2). Meanwhile, Brown is seventh in hit by pitches per game (.75) and 11th after being hit by three pitches.
Belmont Abbey (0-2) were swept by Francis Marion on Saturday after their first two scheduled series were postponed. The Crusaders will host Wingate the day before facing the Pioneers in Greenwood. Belmont Abbey only scored one run in the series, courtesy of a solo homerun from Payton Whitley. Katie Allison is the lone Crusader to record multiple hits with two, while Evann Shelnutt accounts for the only double. Allison and Mackenzie Sprinkle are the recipients of the team's two walks. The Crusaders have been struck out 16 times, including four by Whitley. Jordanna Shorts has been the most successful pitcher for Belmont Abbey, allowing five earned runs in four innings. Annabeth Watkins has thrown the only strikeout for the staff.
Lander (3-0) will begin the invitational with King before hosting Tusculum on Friday. The Bearcats have outscored their opponents 36-3 to open 2020, including a 22-1 rout of Piedmont International in the debut. Ashley Vinson is responsible for a team-high five RBI, followed by four from both Jenelle Figueroa and Sydney Grimes. Figueroa is the speedster with four steals and a triple, while Vinson has been patient, drawing two walks. Vinson has also been the star pitcher for the Bearcats, picking up a five-inning complete game, allowing two walks, three hits, and struck out four. Lander leads the nation in team batting average (.488) and is tied for first in hit batters (1), scoring (12.00), triples per game (1.00), and win/loss percentage (1.00).
Young Harris (5-0) is the fifth-best team in Division II, according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) preseason poll. The Mountain Lions will be playing in their third weekend tournament to begin the season, the first outside of Georgia. Carly Rigsbee has a .421 batting average, alongside eight hits, two doubles, and five RBI. Maddie Urquiola has a team-leading two homers, while Morgan Curley has notched a high of eight RBI. Emily Harris is averaging two runs scored per game. Jill Torres has walked three times and been hit by five pitches, fifth nationally. Sam Davis is the primary pitcher for Young Harris, notching three complete games and 21 innings, while allowing 10 hits, four earned runs, hit four batters, 12 walks, and 16 strikeouts.
Erskine (0-4) has been swept by two SAC opponents to start the year: Lenoir-Rhyne and Coker. Allison Neeley and Kelci Brown have split the four runs scored by the Flying Fleet thus far. Neeley leads the team with two RBI, four hits, including a pair of doubles, and the lone homerun and steal. Brown, Hanna Houge, and Shi Cain have drawn two walks each. Houge and Brown have split the starts, with the former recording 13 innings of work. She has allowed 21 hits, 14 earned runs, seven walks, and struck out 13 opponents.
Links to live stats and video for Tusculum University athletic events can be found through tusculumpioneers.com.