GAFFNEY, S.C. --- Tusculum College and Limestone College split a non-conference softball doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, with the Pioneers winning the opener 8-2 behind a four-run first inning and the Saints grabbing the nightcap 9-4 after overcoming an early 3-0 deficit.
The Pioneers (9-9) will host Young Harris College in a non-conference doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Red Edmonds Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Game 1: Tusculum 8, Limestone 2
Kaytlin Stroinski and Paige Sneed hit home runs during a four-run first inning, and Tavi Parris slugged a two-run shot in the sixth as the Pioneers jumped to an 8-0 lead on their way to the victory. Kelly King (7-4) won her fifth straight start for the Pioneers, allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out three in her 10th complete game in as many starts.
Stroinski finished 2-for-3 with a double, homer, walk and two runs scored while Miranda Beeler was 3-for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored. The top six hitters in the Tusculum lineup combined for all eight runs and nine hits in the win.
The Pioneers struck for four runs in the first off Saints starter Klinnin Carson (2-3). Carolyn Williamson led off with a single and was replaced by Beeler on a fielder's choice grounder. After Parris was hit by a pitch, Stroinski hammered a pitch over the fence in left-center for a 3-0 Tusculum lead. After a groundout, Sneed homered to left field in her first at-bat after missing four games to extend the Pioneer advantage to 4-0.
In the third, Stroinski led off with a double and took third on a bunt single by Courtney Hutcherson. Stroinski then scored as the Limestone catcher made a bad throw while trying to catch Hutcherson stealing second to make it a 5-0 Tusculum lead. Hutcherson would later score on a wild pitch by reliever Kelly Shearer to push the Pioneers on top 6-0.
After leaving two runners on base in the fourth and two more in the fifth, Tusculum added to its lead in the sixth as Beeler reached on an error, stole second and scored on Parris' third home run of the season which gave the Pioneers an 8-0 lead. With the chance to finish the game by run rule in the bottom of the frame, the Pioneers allowed a run on an RBI single by Tori Noland which put Limestone on the board. The Saints added another run in the seventh on a fielder's choice grounder to close out the scoring.
Williamson drew three walks in addition to her hit, and Sneed reached base safely three times on a walk and a hit by pitch in addition to her home run. No player in the Limestone lineup reached base more than once in the game.
Carson allowed six hits and six runs (five earned) in two-plus innings of work for the Saints, while Shearer surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits and struck out four in five innings of relief.
Game 2: Limestone 9, Tusculum 4
The Saints (9-7) trailed 3-0 before their first turn at-bat, but scored three runs in both the first and second innings to take the lead for good. Limestone pounded out five extra-base hits among their 11 hits in the game, and took advantage of three Tusculum errors to score three unearned runs.
The Pioneers managed just four hits against Limestone starter Taylor Wigmore (4-1), who struck out four and issued one walk. Bailie Maybry led the Saints at the plate by going 3-for-4 with three runs batted in, while Wigmore and Gabby Nicholson each finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Just as she did in the first game, Stroinski gave the Pioneers an early lead with a three-run home run in the top of the first inning, coming after singles by Williamson and Parris. The Saints came back with three runs in the bottom of the first off Tusculum starter Eliza Davis, coming on sacrifice flies by Noland and Alycia Stiles and a double by Leea Polin.
Limestone added three more runs in the second on an RBI double by Amanda Hayes and a two-run single by Maybry to take a 6-3 lead. The Saints tacked on a run in the third on an RBI double by Wigmore and another fourth on an RBI single by Maybry, but the Pioneers answered in the top of the fifth as Nicole Ball doubled, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Williamson to cut the margin to 8-4.
The Saints closed out the scoring in the bottom of the fifth with a run on an RBI single by Nicholson, and Wigmore finished off the Pioneers by retirning the side in order in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Davis (0-2) allowed six runs (four earned) on five hits in 1 1/3 innings for the Pioneers, with Rachel Medley, King and Leah Powell working in relief. Powell retired all five batters she faced, including a pair of strikeouts.
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