WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --- The Tusculum baseball team erupted for five runs in the eighth inning as the Pioneers rallied to a 6-4 victory at Palm Beach Atlantic Saturday afternoon at J.M. Rubin Park.
Tusculum (1-2) picks up its first win of the season while the Sailfish (1-1) suffer their first setback of 2018 as PBA was coming off an 11-0 shutout of 18th-ranked Catawba on Friday.
The Pioneers, who trailed 3-1 heading into the eighth, sent 10 batters to the plate in the five-run inning.
Tusculum got the first two aboard when pinch-hitter John Bennett led off with a walk. Pinch runner Seth DeHaven came in for Bennett and moved to third on Nate Montgomery's base hit to right field. After a foul out, Zack Finchum drew a walk to load the bases.
PBA reliever Joey Hennessey took over for Orsen Josephina and face Jarel McDade, who lined a single to right field to drive in DeHaven to make it a 3-2 game. Pinch-hitter Jake Wapinksy reached on a RBI fielder's choice as Montgomery scored to knot the game at 3-3. Chase Wullenweber laid down a bunt single to bring home Finchum with the go-ahead run as the Pioneers led 4-3. TC added two more runs on Edison Cabrera's fielder's choice which drove in McDade, while Wapinsky scored on a PBA error on the play.
The Sailfish scratched in a run thanks to a Tusculum error in the bottom of the eighth inning to make it a 6-4 game. In the bottom of the ninth, Palm Beach Atlantic made some noise as Evan Dougherty led off with a single against reliever Mitch McCain. McCain got a fly out before Dougherty advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pinch-hitter Ryan Johnson drew a walk to bring the potential winning run to the plate with one out. McCain got a force out of Dougherty on a ground ball to third baseman Bryson Ford for an important second out of the inning. McCain ended the game with a fly out to seal the victory for the Black and Orange.
The Pioneers got on the board first in the second inning at the Wullenweber drew a two-out, bases loaded walk to bring home the first run of the game.
Tusculum starter Sean McDaniel was cruising along as he retired the first eight batters of the game in his TC debut. He labored a bit in the third when PBA mounted a two-out rally with back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. But McDaniel got a ground out to end the threat.
The Sailfish tied the game with a run in the fourth inning on a pair of Tusculum errors. PBA took the lead in the fifth as Jake Summey led off with a single and a pair of hit batters loaded the bases with one out. Eamonn Collins relieved McDaniel and threw a wild pitch as Summey scampered in with the go ahead tally. With runners at second and third, Collins got a strikeout and a ground out to limit the damage and end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, PBA made it 3-1 as Sean Houck led off the inning with a single and later scored on Dougherty's double. McCain relieved Charles Hall on the mound and surrendered a single and a walk to load the bases with one out. But McCain kept it a 3-1 game when he got a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat and set the table for the Pioneers.
McCain pitched the final 2 2/3 innings to earn his first collegiate victory, allowing three hits, one unearned run, walked two and struck out two. McDaniel went 4 1/3 innings in his inaugural TC start as he scattered four hits, two runs, one earned, walked on a struck out six in his 90-pitch performance.
Josephina suffered the loss as he went 2.1 innings, allowed three runs on three hits, walked two and struck out three. PBA starter Sean Horner pitched five innings and struck out 11 as he allowed one unearned run on three hits with a pair of walks.
Tusculum finished with eight hits as Montgomery and Finchum had two hits apiece, while Wullenweber accounted for a pair of RBI. TC second baseman Daulton Martin had a double to extend his 14-game hitting streak, which started last season.
The Pioneers will close out its Florida road swing on Sunday with a noon game at Lynn University in Boca Raton.