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Pioneers homer twice in 7-4 win over Newberry in weekend opener

Jarel McDade went 3-for-4 with two RBI and this solo home run in the first inning (photo by Kendrick Grant)
Jarel McDade went 3-for-4 with two RBI and this solo home run in the first inning (photo by Kendrick Grant)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Jarel McDade went 3-for-4 including his team-leading fifth home run to lead the Tusculum baseball team to a 7-4 South Atlantic Conference victory over Newberry Friday night at Pioneer Park.

The Pioneers (18-16, 10-6 SAC) take over sole possession of fourth place in the conference standings and have won their last four SAC contests.  Newberry falls to 17-15 on the year and 9-7 in league play.

McDade drove in the game's first two runs while starting pitcher Charles Hall (3-1) picked up the victory in his seven-inning, 124-pitch performance.

The two teams combined for 30 hits on the night as the Wolves out-hit the Pioneers by a 16-14 margin, but Newberry left 14 runners on base.

TC's Daulton Martin went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored as he extends his streak to 48 consecutive games reaching base safely, dating back to last season.  He has also recorded two or more hits in his last four games to raise his batting average to a SAC-best .406.

TC's Seth DeHaven went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Garrett Dupuis and Colby Skeen each had two hits in the win.

Newberry's Tanner Lane went 3-for-4, while Dalton Lansdowne also posted three hits for the evening.  The Wolves also got two hits each from Danton Hyman, Colin Allman, Chase Barbary and Tyler Ackard.

McDade put the Pioneers on the board when he drove the first pitch he saw that hit the top of the center field wall and bounced over for a home run in the first inning.  In the bottom of the third inning, Martin led off with a single and scored on McDade's fourth double of the season for a 2-0 Tusculum lead.

Hall blanked Newberry through the first three innings and got out of a two-on, one out jam with a pair of fly outs to maintain the lead.  The Wolves broke through with a run in the fourth inning as Derek Olenchuk led off with a single and later scored on Barbary's two-out single.

Tusculum erupted for three runs in the fourth inning as Dupuis led off with his third homer of the season, a shot down the left field line.  Trey Hinton followed with a base hit and he scored on DeHaven's fifth double of 2018.  Martin lined a single to left field to bring in DeHaven as Tusculum led 5-1.

The Wolves wouldn't go away as they chipped away at the deficit scoring a run in the sixth and two more runs in the eighth to trail 5-4. 

In the sixth, Lansdowne hit a two-out single up the middle to trail 5-2.  Newberry made some noise in the seventh as they have runners at first and second with one out.   Lane lined a single to centerfield as Olenchuk rounded third but was thrown out at the plate by DeHaven to maintain the three-run lead.

Meanwhile, Newberry reliever Quinton Driggers came aboard in the fourth inning, taking over for starter Evan Estridge.  Driggers blanked Tusclum through three innings and limited TC to just two hits during that span.

In the top of the eighth Newberry pushed two runs across thanks to a two-run single by Hyman as the Wolves were down 5-4 with runners at first and second with one out.  Mitch McCain took over and got a ground out and stranded the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

Tusculum got the two runs back in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a Martin RBI single and a pinch-hit sacrifice fly from Jake Wapinsky.

In the top of the ninth, the Wolves brought the tying run to the plate as Lane and pinch-hitter Kevin Clanton reached on singles. But McCain secured his third save of the year with a ground out to end the game.

McCain pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings while scattering two hits.  Hall allowed two runs on 10 hits, five walks and recorded three strikeouts.  Estridge suffered the loss to go to 2-4 on the year.

Skeen, the reigning SAC Player of the Week, extended his season-high hitting streak to eight games.

The two teams will wrap up the weekend series with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Pioneer Park.

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