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PIONEER RALLY FALLS SHORT, SOFTBALL SPLITS TWIN-BILL WITH BELMONT ABBEY

Rachel Hopper GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum College softball team (9-17) split a doubleheader with Belmont Abbey College (7-21) on Sunday at Red Edmonds Field, taking game one by a score of 9-3 before the Crusaders withstood a four-run rally by the Pioneers to win game two 6-4.

Rachel Hopper went 5-for-7 on the day with a team-high three RBI, including a 3-for-4 performance in game two of the twin-bill. Hopper, Alex Kimbrell and Taylor MacDonald each scored two runs in the doubleheader. Makenzie Loy, Savannah Ewing and Phlyscia Powell each drove in a pair of runs for the Pioneers.

Lindsay Bridges (1-3) made her seventh start of the season for the Pioneers in game one, pitching the first four innings while allowing two runs to pick up her first win of the campaign. Aly Hansen (2-4) threw the final three frames in relief of Bridges to earn her first save of the season. Junior Holli Cadenhead (6-10) made the start in game two, allowing two earned runs in three and one-third innings.

Belmont Abbey's Dani Beres paced the Crusaders with four hits, including three doubles, while driving in three runs in the twin-bill. Carrie Markham and Gina Antonucci each had three hits on the day while Tara Ruebel tied Beres for the team-lead with three RBI.

Kayla Short (4-10) got the nod for the Crusaders in game one, pitching the full seven innings and recording two strikeouts. Danielle Puckett (2-5) picked up her second win of the season in game two, striking out five batters in seven innings of work.

Game 1: Tusculum 9, Belmont Abbey 3


Belmont Abbey opened the day's scoring with two runs in the top of the first inning, highlighted by Katie Hobbs' RBI triple to right center which plated Antonucci from first. Tusculum answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame to tie the score at 2-2 on Loy's two-run single to center.

The Pioneers broke the game open in the fourth inning with seven runs on five hits and three Crusader miscues to take a 9-2 lead into the fifth. Tusculum started the frame with a leadoff walk by Loy and a one-out single by Racheal Wilburn to put runners on first and second with one down. Wilburn then stole second and forced a throwing error by the Crusader catcher which allowed Loy to score from third to give TC a 3-2 lead.

Ashley Basilicato then walked and stole second to put runners on second and third for Powell, who then lined an 0-1 pitch into left center for a two-run triple, the first three-bagger of her career. Ewing followed with a two-run single later in the inning before Hopper capped the offensive outburst with an RBI single. Belmont Abbey scored once in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 9-2, before Hansen retired four of the final five batters of the game to record her first career save.

Game 2: Belmont Abbey 6, Tusculum 4

The Crusaders opened the scoring in the nightcap with two runs in the third inning, plating two runners on an RBI double by Beres and a one-run single by Ruebel to take an early 2-0 lead. Belmont Abbey extended the lead to 5-0 with three runs in the fourth on four hits, including a two-run single by Beres that plated Antonucci and Puckett.

After the Crusaders tacked on another run in the seventh to push the lead to 6-0, Tusculum came up in the bottom of the inning and put its first two batters of the frame on base o

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