Pioneers honor seniors, split twinbill with King

Pioneers honor seniors, split twinbill with King

The Tusculum College softball team finished the 2012 regular season with a split of its non-conference doubleheader with King College Sunday afternoon at Red Edmonds Field.

The Pioneers (30-23) won the opener 3-2 after scoring the tiebreaking run in the bottom of the fifth inning, while the Tornado (28-17) captured the nightcap 8-2 after building a 5-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings.

Tusculum will host the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament at Red Edmonds Field beginning Thursday. The Pioneers, seeded fifth in the tournament, will play fourth-seeded Carson-Newman in the opening game on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

Prior to Sunday's game, the Pioneers honored seniors Ashley Bagley, Ashley Burke, Katy Stuckwish, Lindsay Bridges, Alesha Buckner and Savannah Ewing along with student assistant coach Neill Blakeney.

Game 1: Tusculum 3, King 2
(Box Score)

Stuckwish scored the eventual winning run on a groundout in the fifth inning, and Elizabeth Johnson picked up her 25th win of the season to lead the Pioneers to victory in the opener.

Johnson (25-11) allowed six hits and one earned run, striking out three and walking two over 126 pitches for the Pioneers. She outdueled Tornado starter Rachael Wilmoth (12-8), who surrendered six hits and three runs in six innings while throwing just 70 pitches.

The Pioneers broke a 0-0 tie in the fourth with a pair of runs. Katie Brennan delivered a one-out triple to drive home Burke with the first run of the game, and Lindsey Umberger followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 Tusculum lead.

King came back with two runs in the fifth, the first coming on a squeeze bunt by Hannah Light. A two-out infield single by Christina Melcher brought home the tying run, but the Pioneers were able to throw out the go-ahead run attempting to score on a wild pitch to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Stuckwish reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error. A sacrifice bunt moved her to third, and Stuckwish scored on a grounder to short by Katie Gross to give the Pioneers a 3-2 lead.

The Tornado put a runner on base in each of the last two innings, but Johnson was able to set down the side without allowing the tying run to reach scoring position.

Stroinski reached base twice for the Pioneers on a single and a walk, while Stephanie Rodriguez led the Tornado by going 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Game 2: King 8, Tusculum 2
(Box Score)

Light (15-4) allowed four hits and struck out nine, while the Tornado finished with 11 hits as a team. Melcher drove in three runs, Cassie Ringstaff went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and Rodriguez and Aubree Hutt each scored twice for King.

Stroinski (2-9) started for the Pioneers and gave up seven hits and five runs (four earned) in four innings of work. She struck out two and issued four walks.

The Tornado jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Melcher and an RBI single by Fallon Thomas. King scored twice more in the second on a sacrifice fly by Melcher and a throwing error to take a 4-0 lead.

King added a run in the fourth on an RBI single by Melcher to go on to 5-0, before the Pioneers broke through with a run in the bottom of the inning. Gross led off with a single and came home on an infield single by Burke.

In the fifth, the Tornado added a run off Johnson on an RBI infield single by Mackenzie Draine, and tallied two unearned runs in the seventh off Buckner on an two-run single by Cora Milliken.

Tusculum closed out the scoring in the bottom of the seventh when Burke scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Bagley. Burke went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored to account for half of the Pioneers' four hits.

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