Kruel's hits boost Tusculum to sweep of Mars Hill

Kruel's hits boost Tusculum to sweep of Mars Hill

Alix Kruel delivered the game-winning hit in both games as Tusculum College swept a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader from Mars Hill University Tuesday night at Red Edmonds Field, winning by scores of 5-3 and 3-2.

The Pioneers (24-20, 10-6 SAC) will follow up their sweep of the Lions (20-16, 6-10 SAC) by heading out on the road Thursday afternoon for a non-conference doubleheader at Francis Marion, beginning at 4 p.m.

Game 1: Tusculum 5, Mars Hill 3
(Box Score)

Tusculum had just three hits off Mars Hill starter Shelby Culler, but the decisive blow was a bases-clearing triple off the bat of Kruel with two outs in the fourth that gave the Pioneers a 5-3 lead. Kelly King (16-9) struck out nine and allowed one earned run on eight hits to earn the win for the Pioneers.

Mars Hill took a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run double by Shaundee Woosley, but Tusculum came back to tie the game in the third as Nicole Ball led off with a walk and reached third on a misplayed fly ball off the bat of Kruel. Carolyn Williamson delivered an RBI single to bring home Ball, and Kruel also scored on a wild throw from the outfield.

In the fourth, Mars Hill went back on top 3-2 on an RBI single by Woosley. Tusculum came right back in its half of the inning as Katie Brennan led off with a walk and Courtney Hutcherson was hit by a pitch with one out. After a single by Ball loaded the bases, Kruel delivered a hit into the left-field corner to bring home all three runners and give Tusculum a 5-3 lead.

Woosley finished 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in all three runs for the Lions, while Culler was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Ball reached in all three trips for the Pioneers with two walks and a single.

Game 2: Tusculum 3, Mars Hill 2
(Box Score)

After the Lions grabbed a 2-1 lead on a two-run home run by Cori Dew in the fifth inning, Kruel delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to drive home the decisive runs.

The Pioneers left the bases loaded in the second, but took a 1-0 lead in the third as Miranda Beeler led off with an infield single and later scored on a groundout by Tavi Parris.

Tusculum starter Eliza Davis carried the 1-0 lead into the fifth inning, but a two-out walk to Woosley was followed by Dew's fifth home run of the season, giving Mars Hill a 2-1 advantage.

The winning rally started with an infield single from Parris, followed by a misplay on a bunt by Brennan. A groundout moved to the runners into scoring position, and Kruel brought them in with a single up the middle. Davis slammed the door in the seventh by retiring the side in order to close out the win.

Davis (4-7) allowed six hits and two earned runs, striking out seven and walking two. Mars Hill starter Jamie Booze (7-2) gave up seven hits and one earned run with three strikeouts and a walk.

Kaytlin Stroinski went 3-for-3 with a double for the Pioneers, while Jamie Hockaday had three singles in as many trips for the Lions.

- TC -