GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Meredith O'Connor recorded 18 strikeouts while posting a pair of victories to lead the No. 25 Lenoir-Rhyne softball team to a South Atlantic Conference sweep of host Tusculum, Monday at Red Edmonds Field. The Bears (33-10, 8-2 SAC) exploded for 13 runs in the final four innings en route to a 13-3 win in the opener, while O'Connor tossed a six-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory in the night-cap.

Game 1: No. 25 Lenoir-Rhyne 13, Tusculum 3

Lenoir-Rhyne, the top-ranked team in the South Atlantic Region, accounted for 17 hits, including a 4-for-5 effort by Leah Krohn as the Bears won 13-3 in the first game of the day. Every L-R starter recorded a hit in the win, including two each by Britanny Cherry, Noel Belk, Taylor Queen, Kat Rivers and Lauren Johnson.

Tusculum jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, when senior Anna Johnson clubbed her second home run in as many days.

It would remain that way until the fourth inning when Krohn led off with a single and scored on Johnson's fifth double of the year. Johnson would later score on an error to give the Bears their first lead of the day.

In the fifth inning, Queen and Rivers both reached on one-out singles. Krohn responded with a two-run triple, her second of the season.

Lenoir-Rhyne added three runs in sixth thanks to a two-run single by Rivers to lead 8-1. Tusculum cut into the deficit with a pair of runs in the sixth as Jennifer Turley drew a bases-loaded walk and Makenzie Loy had a RBI single to trail 8-3.

The Bears responded with five runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. TC's Anna Johnson led the Pioneers with her 2-for-4 effort, while scoring a pair of runs.

O'Connor struck out nine, while scattering five hits for the victory. TC starter Megan DuBois (5-6) suffered the loss.

Game 2: No. 25 Lenoir-Rhyne 4, Tusculum 0

In the second game, O'Connor recorded nine strikeouts and scattered six hits in a 4-0 win by the Bears. For O'Connor (23-7), it was her 24th complete game of the season and sixth shutout.

Queen led the charge for L-R with her two hits, including a double, while Krohn smacked a solo home run to lead off the fourth.

L-R plated a run in the first when Belk doubled and later scored on a wild pitch. The Bears added scoring tallies in the third, fourth and sixth innings, to take a 4-0 advantage.

O'Connor allowed only three TC runners to advance to second as she scattered six hits in the game. Tusculum rookie pitcher Ashley Whitehead (2-8) surrendered only one earned run in the game as she allowed seven hits, a walk and six strikeouts in going the distance.

Tusculum returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts North Greenville for a 2 p.m. doubleheader at Edmonds Field. L-R entertains Mars Hill for a league doubleheader on Wednesday.

- TC -