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Tusculum splits pair at Pioneer Double-Round Robin

Colin Johnston celebrates as he pitched the final 6.1 innings in TC's 6-3 win over Notre Dame College (photo by Chris Lenker).
Colin Johnston celebrates as he pitched the final 6.1 innings in TC's 6-3 win over Notre Dame College (photo by Chris Lenker).

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum baseball team split a pair of games Sunday afternoon at the Pioneer Double-Round Robin which was held at Pioneer Park.  Tusculum opened with a 6-3 victory over Notre Dame College, but dropped the night-cap to Davis & Elkins, 4-2.  In the middle game of Sunday's action, Notre Dame knocked off Davis & Elkins 10-2.

The double round-robin will wrap up on Monday with three games starting at 11 a.m. with Notre Dame (1-1) and Davis & Elkins (1-5) with a rematch.  In the 2:30 p.m. game, Tusculum (4-5) battles Notre Dame and the Pioneers will follow with a 6 p.m. rematch with Davis & Elkins.

Tusculum 6, Notre Dame (Ohio) 3

Tusculum rallied from an early 3-1 deficit scoring three runs in the third inning and two more in the fourth in the 6-3 win over the Falcons.  Reliever Colin Johnston pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings as he scattered four hits and posted five strikeouts to earn his first Tusculum victory.

NDC scored a pair of runs in the first inning off of TC starter Sean McDaniel.  Drake May drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a wild pitch.  Nate Rearick came through with a two-out RBI single for a 2-0 Falcons lead.

TC answered with a run in the bottom of the first as Zack Finchum led off with a single, moved to third on Daulton Martin's base hit and Nate Montgomery drove in Finchum with a RBI ground out.

Notre Dame got the run back in the top of the second thanks to a TC fielding error for a 3-1 lead.

A terrifying moment happened in the top of the third inning.  With a runner at first and two out, NDC catcher Ryan Kozmynka hit a liner back to the mound which hit the left side of the face of reliever Andrew Willis.  Athletic training personnel tended the Tusculum sophomore lefty and after several moments, Willis walked off the field with assistance and was later transported to an area hospital for tests and evaluation.  He would later be discharged from the hospital and is heading home to Knoxville for further treatment.

Johnston took over for Willis and got the third out of the inning on a ground out to keep it a two-run game.

In the bottom of the third, the Pioneers loaded the bases with no outs and Garrett Dupuis hit a two-run single to drive in Martin and Jarel McDade.  On the play the ball got past the outfielder allowing Montgomery to score from first base as TC took a 4-3 lead.

In the sixth frame, Tusculum got the first two batters aboard and Martin answered with a two-run double to add some insurance runs for a 6-3 TC advantage.

Johnston did not allow a base runner past first base in his six-plus innings of work.

Martin finished the game going 2-for-2 to extend his 19-game hitting streak.  TC junior outfielder Seth DeHaven also had a pair of singles and was also hit by a pitch.

The Falcons out-hit the Pioneers 9-8 as Zach Santoro and Kozmynka each had two hits in the loss.

Davis & Elkins 4, Tusculum 2

Senators starting pitcher Cody Luker held Tusculum hitless through the first four innings while Austin Main struck out six in his 3.1 innings of relief as Davis & Elkins won 4-2.  The Senators pick up their first win of the season after opening 0-5.

Luker (1-0) went 5 2/3 innings where he allowed one run on three hits, no walks and three strikeouts.

Johnny Liu led the charge at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI while catcher Dominic Dianchini went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs.

The Senators scored a run in the third, two in the fourth and one in the sixth to jump out to a 4-0 lead.

Tusculum scratched a run in the bottom of the sixth as DeHaven led off with a triple and scored on Chase Wullenweber's sacrifice fly out.  TC manufactured a run in the seventh when Skeen reached on a passed ball on a third strike.  Pincher runner Jakereon Williams moved to second on a balk by Main and later scored on Garrett Goldberg's one-out single.

Tusculum got the lead-off runner aboard in the eighth inning when Montgomery led off with an infield single. But Main got out of the jam with a double play.  In the ninth, TC mounted a two-out rally as Goldberg reached on a walk, moved to second when John Bennett was hit by a pitch, but Main got a strikeout to end the game and secure his first save of the year.

TC was limited to six total hits with Martin going 2-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 20 consecutive games dating back to last season.  He has also reached base safely in his last 21 in a row.

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