McDade has big day in Saturday split with Coker

McDade has big day in Saturday split with Coker

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Jarel McDade went a perfect 7-of-7 at the plate on the day as the Tusculum University baseball team split a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader with visiting Coker College Saturday afternoon.

McDade went 4-for-4 to lead a 14-hit barrage and Andrew Willis pitched five shutout innings of relief as the Pioneers won the opener 7-3.  In the night-cap, Jon Koski gutted out 142-pitches over 6.1 innings as Coker salvaged an 8-6 win in the weekend finale.

The Pioneers (23-13, 11-4 SAC) win their fifth straight SAC weekend series, while the Cobras go to 12-20 overall and 5-13 in league play.

Game 1: Tusculum 7, Coker 3

McDade posted four hits and three stolen bases in TU's 7-3 win over the Cobras. 

Tusculum used a four-run third inning which was sparked by Bradley Evans' three-run homer.

Coker got solo home runs from Larry McCabe and Reilly Hall as the Cobras kept in striking distance, trailing 4-3 heading to the fifth inning.  But in the bottom of the fifth, Daulton Martin clubbed his NCAA Division II-best 20th double as Tusculum led 7-3.

Willis took over in the fifth frame for TU starter Zach Sanders.  Willis retired 14 of the final 15 batters including a stretch of nine in a row as he evened his overall record at 2-2.  He surrendered just one base hit, walked none and struck out three in his 52-pitch performance.

McDade also scored two runs, while Bryson Ford added three hits and Martin and Seth DeHaven tallied two hits apiece.

Game 2: Coker 8, Tusculum 6

McCabe posted a pair of doubles in a two-run shot off the wall in the sixth inning in Coker's 8-6 victory in Saturday's second game.

The Cobras pounded out 13 hits including five doubles to back-up Koski's pitching performance.

Tusculum scored two runs in the first inning before Coker got a lead-off double from Thompson and he scored on Casey Demko's base hit.

Coker took its first lead of the game with a pair of runs in the fourth inning on Lake Lybrand's two-run single to center.  Tusculum tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth as Ford drew a two-out walk and Nate Montgomery doubled down the left field line.

In the top of the sixth, pinch-hitter Austin Morris led off with an infield single. He was bunted to second base and KJ Curry drew a walk.  Chase Bruno singled to right field to load the bases.  After TU pitching change, Hall drew a walk to drive in the go-ahead run.  McCabe followed with his double to left field to make it a 6-3 game.

In the bottom of the sixth, Tusculum mounted a rally.  Garrett Dupuis was hit by a pitch with one out. McDade lined a triple to left field to bring the tying run to the plate.  But Koski got a strikeout and a pop up to keep the score at 6-4.  Coker scored two big runs in the seventh inning thanks to Bruno's RBI double and a Hall sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the seventh, after Koski struck out Martin, he walked Ford and Montgomery.  After a double steal, Drake Knight came on with one out and the tying run on-deck.  Knight struck out Evans for the second out, before Trey Hinton lined a single through the left side to drive in Ford.  Montgomery held up at third but an outfield error allowed him to score.  Back-to-back wild pitches moved pinch-runner Jaden Steagall to third base.  With Dupuis at the plate and McDade on-deck representing the potential winning run, Knight ended the game with a fly out.

Koski (5-1) scattered five hits, allowed six runs, seven walks and nine strikeouts. Knight posted his four save of the year.

Tusculum was held to six hits, including McDade's 3-for-3 performance.

Tusculum returns to action on Wednesday as the Pioneers travel to Winston-Salem State for a doubleheader.