HICKORY, N.C. --- Tusculum head coach Doug Jones recorded his 700th career victory as the Pioneers split a South Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader at Lenoir-Rhyne Sunday afternoon at Bears Field.
Win No. 700 came in Sunday's opener as Tusculum took advantage of five L-R errors as the Pioneers prevailed 7-5. Lenoir-Rhyne (24-16, 11-10 SAC) bounced back with a 13-3 win in the night-cap. Tusculum (20-20, 12-9 SAC) wins the weekend series 2-1 and climbs into sole possession of third place in the league standings.
Jones' 700 career victories have all come as Tusculum's skipper for the past 21 seasons as TC secures its 19th straight 20-win campaign. He becomes only the second South Atlantic Conference coach to record 700 wins and the 24th active NCAA Division II diamond mentor to achieve the feat.
Game 1: Tusculum 7, Lenoir-Rhyne 5
The Pioneers led wire-to-wire as TC scored a pair of runs in the first inning including a sacrifice fly out off the bat of Colby Skeen.
The Bears answered with a run in the bottom of the second inning on Corbin Watson's two-out RBI single.
TC scored three unearned runs in the fourth inning and plated a run each in the fifth and sixth frames to lead 7-1. The Pioneers took advantage of a pair of errors in the fourth and used another L-R miscue in the fifth to plate another run. In the sixth, Daulton Martin led off his team-leading 13th double of the year. He would score on Nate Montgomery's eighth double of the season.
The Bears scored a run in the sixth inning on Will Jones' two-out single, but McAllister got out of a bases-load jam with a strikeout to end the threat and preserve the 7-2 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, with reliever Pedro Rodriguez on the hill for the Pioneers, the Bears first three batters reached, including a two-run single from Brock Johnson as L-R trailed 7-4. Rodriguez got a strikeout, but a hit-batter and a RBI single from Marcus Shoemaker made it a 7-5 game to bring the game-winning run to the plate and one out.
TC reliever Mitch McCain took over and got the second out of the inning on a fielder's choice and strikeout out Will Jones for the final punch out of the game to secure Coach Jones' milestone victory.
McAllister improves his record to 3-1 as he scattered seven hits, allowed two runs on three walks and three strikeouts. McCain earned his fourth save of the season. L-R starter Hunter Martin suffered loss to go to 1-5 on the campaign.
L-R out-hit the Pioneers by an 11-8 margin as Shoemaker and Watson finished with three hits each while Justin Dean and Johnson accounted for two hits apiece.
Game 2: Lenoir-Rhyne 13, Tusculum 3
Lenoir-Rhyne jumped out to a 10-run lead and pounded out 15 hits, including a three-run homer by Aaron Stamper to highlight a five-run inning as the Bears salvaged a 13-3 win in the series finale.
Stamper finished the game going 3-for-5, while Dean got on base in each of his five plate appearances including three hits and a pair of walks.
L-R starting pitcher John Grigg scattered four hits and three runs in his six inning performance to improve to 7-1 on the season. Griff walked one and struck out four in his 73-pitch outing.
He limited the Pioneers to lead-off single by Martin through the first four innings, before TC outfielder Seth DeHaven hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning to account for the scoring for the Pioneers.
Tusculum starter Zach Sanders (3-4) suffered the loss for the Pioneers.
Martin recorded a hit in each of Sunday's games to move his school-record streak of reaching base safely to 52 consecutive games.
TC returns home on Wednesday to host Bluefield State for a 4 p.m. contest at Pioneer Park.
Coach Doug Jones' Milestone Wins
1st Win: vs Pfeiffer, Feb. 7, 1998
100th Win: vs North Greenville, Feb. 15, 2002
200th Win: at Pfeiffer, Feb. 17, 2005
300th Win: at Carson-Newman, Mar. 18, 2007
400th Win: vs Lenoir-Rhyne, Apr. 17, 2009
500th Win: vs Catawba, Apr. 6, 2012
600th Win: vs Lincoln Memorial, Mar. 30, 2015
700th Win: at Lenoir-Rhyne, Apr. 8, 2018