Pioneers defeat Lenoir-Rhyne to remain in SAC title hunt

Pioneers defeat Lenoir-Rhyne to remain in SAC title hunt

Kelly King pitched a six-hit shutout as Tusculum College defeated Lenoir-Rhyne University for the first time in nine years with a 2-0 victory in the second game of their South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at Bears Field. The Bears won the opener 6-0 behind a three-hitter from Maryann Hoskins.

By winning for the first time ever on the road against the Bears (29-12, 10-6 SAC), the Pioneers (27-16, 11-5 SAC) snapped a 21-game losing streak against Lenoir-Rhyne and remained in contention for the South Atlantic Conference championship.

Tusculum trails Anderson (35-9, 12-4 SAC) by one game and hosts the Trojans in the final doubleheader of the season on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Red Edmonds Field. A Pioneer sweep would secure their first SAC title since joining the league in 1999, while one victory from the Trojans will give them the outright championship.

Game 1: Lenoir-Rhyne 6, Tusculum 0
(Box Score)

Haily Jarman doubled home two runs in the fifth and Jody Mizelle hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning as the Bears took advantage of four errors from the Pioneers to win the opener.

Hoskins (13-4) worked around five walks by striking out five and stranding eight Tusculum runners on base. She allowed singles to Miranda Beeler in the first and Paige Sneed in the second and a double to Lindsey Umberger in the sixth, but stranded two runners on base in the first, second and sixth innings to preserve the shutout.

Tusculum starter Elizabeth Johnson held the Bears without a hit until the third inning, when Jessica Fellmeth delivered a two-out single to knock home Brittany Coursen with the first run of the game.

In the fifth, Mizelle singled with one out and moved to second on a walk to Lauren Elder. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Jarman knocked them both home with a double to right-center to give the Bears a 3-0 advantage.

Lenoir-Rhyne tacked on three unearned insurance runs in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Katie Carpenter and a two-run home run by Mizelle, her sixth of the year.

Johnson (12-10) allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out three and walking four for the Pioneers.

Game 2: Tusculum 2, Lenoir-Rhyne 0
(Box Score)

Katie Brennan delivered a two-run single in the top of the first inning for the only runs of the game, as King (12-6) tossed her sixth shutout of the season for the Pioneers. She did not strike out a batter, but induced 15 groundball outs and stranded the tying runs on base in the seventh to lock up Tusculum's first win over Lenoir-Rhyne since a 2-1 victory on April 4, 2004.

Brandi Hole (15-8) was the hard-luck loser for the Bears, allowing two unearned runs on six hits while striking out three and walking one.

The Pioneers scored in the first as Carolyn Williamson reached second on a throwing error to lead off the game. After Beeler reached on an infield single and stole second, Brennan knocked home both runs with a two-out single to left field.

The Bears threatened in the fourth on back-to-back singles by Jarman and Chelsey Long with one out, but King got Megan Laxton to hit into a double play to end the inning. In the sixth, Mizelle opened the inning with a triple and Fellmeth was hit with a pitch with one out to put runners on the corners. However, King got out of trouble by getting Jarman and Long on ground balls to preserve the 2-0 lead.

Lenoir-Rhyne threatened one last time in the bottom of the seventh on singles by Laxton and Ciera Cockerham, but King shut the door by getting Coursen to hit into a fielder's choice and retiring Mizelle on a liner to Williamson on left to end the game.

Brennan and Kaytlin Stroinski each had two hits in the game for the Pioneers, who played errorless ball in the nightcap.

- TC -