Tusculum scores late again in 3-2 upset win over No. 6 Tampa

Chase McAllister recorded three huge strikeouts to record his third save of the season in Tusculum's 3-2 win over No. 6 Tampa.
Chase McAllister recorded three huge strikeouts to record his third save of the season in Tusculum's 3-2 win over No. 6 Tampa.

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Zach Lippincott drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning, while Chase McAllister got out of a two-on, no-out situation by striking out the side in the ninth as Tusculum upset sixth-ranked Tampa 3-2 Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Park.

Tusculum (23-10) has taken the first two games of the weekend set and will host the Spartans (23-10) for the series finale on Sunday at noon.

Tusculum starter Tim Hardy (8-1) pitched another gem as he went eight innings, allowed two runs on nine hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.

In the bottom of the seventh inning with the score tied 1-1, Jeremy Glore hit a two-out single to score Frankie Valle from third base for a 2-1 Tusculum lead.

Tampa slugger J.D. Osborne answered with his team-leading 14th home run of the year, a two-run solo shot over the left field wall off of Hardy to tie the game at 2-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, Bradley Evans led off with a two-base error to put the go-ahead run in scoring position.  Zack Finchum pinch ran for him and moved to third on Daulton Martin's hard ground out to first base. 

Lippincott stepped to the plate and for the second straight day, came up with a clutch hit in the eighth inning as he hit a blooper through the left side to bring in Finchum from third with the eventual winning run.

In the Tampa ninth, Vin Cosenzo led off with a single up the middle and pinch-hitter Nick DeTringo reached on a bunt single with a 2-2 count against him to put runners at first and second with no outs.

McAllister stepped in for Hardy and got pinch hitter Kyle Cotilletta strikeout when he bunted foul with a two-strike count.  He fanned the next two batters as well to secure the save and Tusculum's fourth win over a nationally-ranked opponent this year.

The Spartans plated their first run in the first inning when Danny Lee led off with a bunt single and later scored on Rivera's infield base hit.  Tusculum tied the game in the fifth off of UT starter Christian Calleja when Dante Key drew a walk, moved to second on Valle's bunt single and onto third thanks to a Seth DeHaven sacrifice bunt.  Key scored the tying run on Edison Cabrera's ground out. 

Tampa reliever Cody Martin (1-2) suffered the loss in relief.  UT starter Christian Calleja tossed six quality innings where he allowed five hits, one run, three walks and three strikeouts.

Tusculum finished with eight hits, including Glore's 2-for-4 effort with a RBI, while Valle also had two hits for the Pioneers.  Tampa accounted for nine hits, including multiple-hit games from Kevin Santa, Laz Rivera and Osborne.