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Pioneers sweep SAC baseball DH over Newberry

Nick Lacina scored 4 runs and hit his first grand slam in Tusculum's DH sweep over Newberry
Nick Lacina scored 4 runs and hit his first grand slam in Tusculum's DH sweep over Newberry

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Nick Lacina scored four runs on the day and hit a grand slam in the opener to spark the Tusculum baseball team to a South Atlantic Conference sweep over Newberry Friday at Pioneer Park.

The Pioneers (12-8, 5-3 SAC) belted out 21 hits in the sweep, including nine extra-base hits.  Tusculum erupted for seven runs in the sixth inning to rally from a 3-1 deficit against the Wolves (12-11, 2-3 SAC) en route to a 9-5 win in the opener.  Edison Cabrera went 4-for-4 with a triple and a pair of doubles to pace the Pioneers to an 8-1 victory in the night-cap.

Game 1: Tusculum 9, Newberry 5

Lacina went 2-for-4 including his first career grand slam, while freshman Daulton Martin posted a 3-for-3 effort in Tusculum's 9-5 win over the Wolves.

Tusculum got on the board first with an unearned run as Jeremy Glore reached on a one-out single, moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt at first base and scored on a Skeen ground out for an early 1-0 lead.

The lead stood until the top of the fifth when Newberry mustered some two-out magic.  Danton Hyman drove in the Wolves' first run of the game with his second double of the season and Derek Olenchuk followed with a two-run single as Newberry led 3-1.

Tusculum answered with a run in the bottom of the inning as Frankie Valle reached on a single and later scored on Glore's sacrifice fly to trim the deficit to 3-2.

In the Tusculum sixth, John Topoleski got things started with a base hit, while Martin answered with a one-out single to put runners at first and second.  After a foul out, Valle came through with a clutch double to the gap in right center to bring in the tying and go ahead runs.  Cabrera drew a walk from NBY starter Zack Kelly.  Reliever Charlie Fessler came aboard and walked Glore to load the bases and Skeen followed with another walk to bring home Urban from third.

Lacina stepped up and hit an opposite field liner down the left field line which cleared the wall for the first grand slam of the season for the Pioneers and his first round-tripper of 2017 as TC led 9-3.

Newberry got the first four batters aboard in the top of the seventh, including Trejon Smith's two-run single against TC starter Ethan Carpenter.  Tusculum reliever McKenly Berry ended the threat with a strikeout and a pair of ground outs to keep it a 9-5 lead for the home team.

TC's Chase McAllister retired the Wolves in order in the eighth and worked around a pair of singles in the ninth to seal the victory for the Pioneers.

Carpenter improves his record to 3-2 on the season as he went six innings, allowed 10 hits, five runs, three walks and three strikeouts as he posted his third career victory against the Wolves. Carpenter also posted his 18th career win in a TC uniform which is tied for eighth all-time at Tusculum.  His 225 career innings are the fifth-most logged by a TC pitcher, while his 177 career strikeouts are tied for sixth in the TC record with former SAC Freshman of the Year Mat Galens (177, 2004-2008).

Newberry finished the game with a dozen hits, including Ben Herring's 4-for-4 performance, while Hyman added two hits and scored two runs for the Scarlet and Gray.

Valle finished the game going 2-for-4 and scored two runs, while Glore also plated a pair of runs in the victory.

Game 2: Tusculum 8, Newberry 1

Tusculum sophomore Tim Hardy (5-0) pitched his second complete game of the season as posted a career-high 10 strikeouts for a second straight game for his seven innings of work in an 8-1 victory.

The Pioneers finished the game with 11 hits, including four from Cabrera, while also scoring three runs.

Cabrera and Glore led off the first with back-to-back triples for a 1-0 Tusculum lead. Skeen followed with a two-run blast that ricocheted off the light pole in right field for his team-leading fourth homer of the season.

The Pioneers added two runs in the third as Cabrera got things started again with a single, moved to second on a bunt and scored on Skeen's fifth double of the year.  Skeen plated the second run of the frame when Nick Lacina clubbed his fourth double of 2017.

The Wolves scored a run in the fourth, but the Pioneers followed with three in the sixth, including Cabrera's RBI double, his sixth of the year and back-to-back run-scoring singles from Glore and Skeen.

Meanwhile, Hardy limited the Wolves to four hits throughout the contest, while walking two and struck out four the final six batters he would face to remain undefeated on the season in his 122-pitch performance.

Skeen finished the game going 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored, while Glore also posted a 2-for-3 effort.

The two teams will wrap up the weekend series with a 1 p.m. single game on Saturday.

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