GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Bryson Ford went 4-for-6 at the plate on the day with to lead the Tusculum University baseball team to a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader sweep over visiting Queens University of Charlotte Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Park.
Tusculum (18-10, 7-2 SAC) had to hold off late rallies by the Royals (5-18, 1-8 SAC), winning the opener 7-6 and the night-cap 6-4. TU completes the three-game weekend sweep over Queens as the Pioneers have won every conference series this season so far.
With the victories, Tusculum improves to an impressive 12-1 at Pioneer Park this season.
Game 1: Tusculum 7, Queens 6
The Pioneers bolted out to a 6-0 lead and led 7-1 after four innings, but had to fend off a furious Queens rallied in a 7-6 win in the opener.
Ford went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two stolen bases. Tusculum finished the contest with 10 hits and seven stolen bases which are tied for the sixth-most in TU history. Jaden Steagall and Seth DeHaven added two-hit performances in the win.
Queens' Noah Jones went 3-for-4 to pace the Royals including his fourth home run of the season.
Tusculum starter Zach Sanders (3-1) picked up the victory as he went the first five innings, allowed five hits, one run, two walks and four strikeouts. TU reliever Andrew Willis earned the save pitching the final 2.2 innings as he fanned five, walked one, allowed two runs (one earned) and two hits.
QUC starter Jack Bergren (2-3) suffered the loss as he allowed six runs on six hits, one walk and one strikeout in his 1.1 innings of work.
Tusculum scored three runs apiece in its first two innings. In the first frame, Steagall led off with a double and Daulton Martin followed with a walk. After a double-steal, Ford posted his first RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly. Nate Montgomery followed with his seventh double of the year to drive in Martin. Zack Finchum wrapped up the inning with his two-out single
In the second frame, Chase Wullenweber and DeHaven started the inning with consecutive hits. After a failed pickoff attempt and a stolen base, Martin drove in both with a two-run single to right field. Ford made it a 6-0 game with his RBI single to center.
The Royals scored in the top of the fourth on Anthony Orta's RBI single. TU answered with a run in the bottom of the inning when DeHaven singled for a second straight at-bat and later scored on Ford's RBI single up the middle.
Queens made its move scoring a run in the sixth, two runs in the seventh on Dominic Ford's two-run homer and one in the eighth. In the ninth, Willis got the first two outs, but gave up an opposite field home run to Noah Jones to make it a 7-6 contest. But he would get a strikeout to end the game and seal the win for the Pioneers.
Game 2: Tusculum 6, Queens 4
Like the first game, Tusculum jumped out to an early lead but had to hold off another Queens rally in a 6-4 triumph. Ford accounted for two of Tusculum's five hits as TU took advantage of four Queens errors and six walks to complete the sweep.
Tusculum led 4-0 after three innings including a three-run second as the Pioneers used two Queens errors and four walks to take the lead. TU added another run on a Queens fielding miscue.
The Royals scored their first run of the game on an Orta RBI single. TU got a two-out double from Ford, followed by a run-scoring single from Montgomery to make it a 5-1 game.
But back came Queens as the Royals scored three runs in the fifth to trail by one at 5-4. But the Pioneers got an insurance run in the sixth to take a two-run lead.
Christian Cuba (3-3) retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh frames, including three strikeouts to end the game. Cuba tossed 2.2 shutout innings as he allowed one walk with five strikeouts.
The Pioneers will be at home on Wednesday when they host Bluefield State at 4 p.m.