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Finchum leads Pioneers to baseball split with Belmont Abbey

Finchum leads Pioneers to baseball split with Belmont Abbey

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Zack Finchum went 5-for-8 and scored three runs on the day as the Tusculum baseball team split a non-conference doubleheader with visiting Belmont Abbey Friday afternoon at Pioneer Park.

The Crusaders won the opener 7-4, before the Pioneers rebounded with a 10-5 victory in the night-cap to salvage a win in the three-game series.  Belmont Abbey, who won two of the three games this week, moves to 5-2 on the season while Tusculum goes to 3-4 on the year.

Game 1: Belmont Abbey 7, Tusculum 4

The Crusaders used a six-run, sixth inning with the big hit coming on AJ Hendrick's pinch-hit two-run double as Belmont Abbey prevailed 7-4.  The Abbey sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth as the Crusaders rallied from a 3-1 deficit to pull out the victory.

Belmont Abbey used five pitchers as reliever Sam Luchansky (2-0) came up with the victory in relieve as he got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fourth and worked around a one-out single in the fifth win his 1.2 scoreless innings of work to notch his second win of the year.

Tusculum scored twice in the second inning thanks to a wild pitch and a two-out error.  In the top of third, Nick Beinlich led off with a single and later scored on Colin Rosenbaum's RBI single to cut the deficit in half.  TC responded as Jarel McDade singled while Finchum and Bryson Ford walked to load the bases.  Chase Wullenweber's two-out walk forced in McDade with TC's third run of the contest.

In the top of the sixth, the Crusaders tallied five hits, two walks and used a two-out error to score six in the inning and take a 7-3 lead.

Tusculum's Daulton Martin hit a one-out, solo homer of the right field wall to bring TC to within three at 7-4.  The Pioneers got two runners on board with one out in the seventh, but pinch-hitter Bradley Evans lined a laser to Luke Cureton in left field and doubled off the TC runner at second base for an inning-ending double-play.

Belmont Abbey had a chance to blow the game open as the Crusaders had two runners on with two outs.  Reliever Trevor Lloyd got a strikeout before hitting a batter to load the bases.  But Lloyd ended the threat with a fly out to keep it a three-run game.  Bo Simmons pitched a perfect ninth inning for the Pioneers with three outfield fly outs.

Tusculum made some noise in the ninth with Belmont Abbey's Brady Hill on the mound.  Tusculum to a lead-off single but a double-play ball cleared the bags with two outs.  But the Pioneers wouldn't go away as Pinch-hitter John Bennett and Finchum reached on back-to-back singles and pinch-hitter Deric Graham drew a walk to load the bases.  But the Crusaders would end the game on a foul out to leave the bases full as Hill notched his first save of the year.

The two teams combined for 24 runners left on base (TC 13, BAC 11) as Belmont Abbey finished with 10 hits, while Tusculum accumulated nine.

Finchum finished the game going 3of-4, while Martin added a pair of hits, including his third double of the season.

Matt McGarry led BAC with his two hits, while Kevin Elefante tallied a pair in the win.

Game 2: Tusculum 10, Belmont Abbey 5

Tusculum trailed on four separate occasions, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth and blew the game open with a four-run outburst in the sixth frame en route to a 10-5 win.

Nate Montgomery went 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Finchum and McDae also had two-hit performances in the second game.

Belmont Abbey took a 1-0 lead on Thomas Yoder's two-out RBI single.  TC answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.  Finchum led off with a single and scored on McDade's first triple of the year.  Montgomery brought McDade on his fielder's choice as he beat the throw to the plate.

The Crusaders regained the lead with two runs in the third as Yoder drove in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly.  Josh Genthe followed with a one-out triple to center field as The Abbey led 3-2.  Cureton drew a walk to put runners on the corners.  TC reliever Chase McAllister made his 2018 debut, taking over for starter Leurys Diaz.  McAllister got out of the jam with a strikeout.

Tusculum tied the game in the bottom of the third as McDade drew a lead-off walk, moved to second base on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on Montgomery's RBI single.

The Crusaders regained the lead in the fourth as Hendricks doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly out to lead 4-3.  TC made it 4-4 thanks to Montgomery's two-out triple to right field.

Belmont Abbey took the lead once again with a run in the sixth before the Pioneers plated two in the bottom of the fifth, including DeHaven's sacrifice fly out to make it a 6-5 TC lead.  Tusculum added four more runs in the sixth with a two-run double by Bennett and a Ford run-scoring single.

Pedro Rodriguez pitched the final two frame where he allowed a hit, two walks and two strikeouts.

McAllister picked up the victory in relief, while Rodriguez notched his first save of the year.

Tusculum returns to action on Tuesday for a non-conference game at Winston-Salem State with first-pitch slated for 5 p.m.

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