WINGATE, N.C. --- Zach Little drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and Wingate got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth as the Bulldogs salvaged a 7-6 win over Tusculum on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Ron Christopher Stadium in South Atlantic Conference baseball action.
Tusculum has its 12-game winning streak snapped, but the Pioneers (13-8, 2-1 SAC) still come away with the weekend series victory. Wingate improves to 11-7 overall and 3-3 in league play.
The Wingate quartet of Little, Justin Guy, Tyler Schneider and Ricky Clark all finished with two hits apiece.
Tusculum's Jarel McDade tallied a pair of hits including his second career grand slam as he finished with five RBI on the day. TU's Trey Hinton posted three hits, while Chase Wullenweber and Bryson Ford each had a pair of singles as Tusculum finished with 12 hits in the loss.
With the score tied 6-6 heading to the bottom of the eighth inning, Schenider led off with a single for the Bulldogs. He moved to second on a bunt and later scored on Little's two-out single as Wingate reclaimed the lead 7-6.
In the top of the ninth, Jaden Steagall legged out an infield single to open the frame and moved to second when Daulton Martin reached on an error on his sacrifice bunt attempt. Wingate reliever Hunter Dula took over for Adam Tullouch, who had been near perfect in his three innings of work. Dula walked Ford to load the bases with no outs.
Dula got Nate Montgomery to ground into a fielder's choice as Schneider came up with the ball at third base and threw to the plate for the force out of Steagall at home. Dula struck out Hinton for the second out to bring McDade to the plate with the bases loaded once again. But this time, McDade would pop up on the infield for the final out of the game as the Bulldogs held on for the victory.
Tulloch (1-1) picked up the win as he scattered two hits with one walk and five strikeouts while blanking TU for three innings.
Wingate jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to five hits, one walk and an error. TU answered with two runs in the second inning on RBI singles from McDade and Wullenweber. In the third inning, TU took its first lead of the day on McDade's two-out grand slam to center field and a 6-3 advantage.
The Bulldogs would chip away at the TU lead scoring a run in the fourth when Schneider led off with a double and scored on Clark's two-base hit. In the sixth, Clark led off the inning with a solo blast to right field as TU lead was cut to one at 6-5.
Meanwhile, Wingate pitching held the Pioneers in check scattering five hits and three walks as both teams would each leave nine runners on base.
Tusculum pitcher Harbor Jefferson suffered the loss as he went three innings, allowed three hits, two runs, one walk and five strikeouts to move to 1-2 on the year.
The Pioneers will return to the diamond this Friday at 2 p.m. at Mars Hill for the weekend series opener at Henderson Field.