Taylor MacDonald GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum College softball team (8-14) staged a late rally on Sunday afternoon to split a doubleheader with Shepherd University (4-2) at Red Edmonds Field. Shepherd survived a late charge in game one to win 8-7, before Tusculum won the nightcap with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to notch the 3-1 victory.

Taylor MacDonald led the way for the Pioneers with a 4-for-7 day, including a 3-for-4 game in the nightcap. Makenzie Loy chipped in with three hits, while MacDonald and Shanda Kimbrough paced the Pioneers with two RBI.

Shepherd's Allie Brambeck went 4-for-6 on the day with two runs scored to lead the Rams. Amanda Orkoskey and Amber Dudek each had three hits as Dudek paced the Rams with three RBI, all in game one. Orkoskey knocked in two runs on the day.

Holli Cadenhead made the start in game two for Tusculum and pitched the full seven innings, allowing one run on three hits while walking one and striking out six to pick up her sixth win of the season. Lindsay Bridges threw four innings in relief of Aly Hansen in game one, allowing two runs and recording one strikeout.

Nichole Pitcock threw six and a third innings in game one, allowing three unearned runs on five hits while striking out three to pick up her third win of the season. Tricia Bettura allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings of work in game two for the Rams.

Game 1: Shepherd 8, Tusculum 7

Shepherd opened the day's scoring in the second inning of game one, when Orkoskey scampered home on a wild pitch after leading off the inning with a double to left center. Tusculum responded with two runs in the bottom of the stanza to take an early 2-1 lead on a throwing error and an RBI single by MacDonald.

The Rams reclaimed the lead in the top of the third with five runs on four hits, capped by a three-run double to right center by Dudek which gave Shepherd a 6-2 lead. Shepherd added a run in each of the fourth and fifth frames to extend the lead to 8-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth.

Tusculum cut the lead to 8-3 with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, and plated four runners in the sixth to trim the margin to 8-7. The Pioneers began the sixth with back-to-back singles by Rachel Hopper and Loy to put runners on first and second for Jessica McKee. McKee then knocked a 0-1 pitch up the middle for an RBI that scored pinch-runner Brittany Hunley from second.

Kimbrough then came up to the plate with runners on second and third with one out, and lined a 1-1 pitch into the left center field gap for a two-run double that scored McKee and Loy to cut the lead to 8-6. MacDonald then followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to 8-7 before Pitcock re-entered the game and retired the final batter of the inning to cap the rally.

Game 2: Tusculum 3, Shepherd 1

Shepherd struck first in game two, plating one run on an RBI single by Amy Edmondson in the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. The Rams held the lead until the bottom of the sixth inning when Tusculum led off the frame with back-to-back bunt singles by Alex Kimbrell and MacDonald to give the Pioneers runners on second and third with no outs.

Ashley Burke