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Wingate powers to sweep of Pioneers, 5-3 and 8-3

Wingate powers to sweep of Pioneers, 5-3 and 8-3
WINGATE, N.C. ---

Wingate University swept a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader from Tusculum College Saturday afternoon, winning the opener 5-3 on a walkoff home run by Alexis Burrell in the bottom of the seventh and taking the nightcap 8-3 behind a six-run fifth inning.

The Pioneers (27-18 overall, 9-5 SAC) will return to action Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. with a non-conference doubleheader at King. The Bulldogs are 25-19 overall and 7-7 in the SAC with the victories.

Game 1: Wingate 5, Tusculum 3
(Box Score)

After the Pioneers' Brooke Lauritzen hit a two-out, two-run pinch hit home run to tie the game 3-3 in the top of the seventh, Burrell answered with a two-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the seventh to give the Bulldogs a 5-3 win in the opener.

Tusculum trailed 3-1 with two outs in the seventh, but Ashley Bagley was hit by a pitch from Wingate starter Miranda Paul to keep the game alive. Lauritzen then stepped up as a pinch-hitter and hit her first career home run to knot the game at 3-3.

In the bottom of the seventh, Kasey Pendley doubled with one out and Burrell followed with her fifth home run of the season on the first pitch she saw from Kaytlin Stroinski to give the Bulldogs the win.

"We battled back, and got a huge home run from Brooke to tie the game. But give Wingate credit for battling back in their at-bat and getting the hit they needed to win it," said Pioneer head coach Fred Gillum.

Stroinski gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with her third home run of the season, and Tusculum starter Elizabeth Johnson carried the lead into the bottom of the fourth, where Wingate broke through for three runs to take a 3-1 lead.

Betsy Braswell hit her sixth home run of the season to lead off the inning and tie the game at 1-1. An RBI double by Joya Wortham pushed the Bulldogs ahead 2-1, and an RBI single by Brittany Owens extended the Wingate lead to 3-1.

Tusculum threatened in the sixth against Paul, picking up back-to-back singles from Stroinski and Katie Brennan with two outs. However, Paul retired the side on a popup to second to preserve Wingate's 3-1 lead.

Stroinski accounted for two of the Pioneers' five hits in game one, while Bagley was 1-for-2 with a run scored. Wingate had nine hits in the opener, but Burrell was the only player with more than one hit for the Bulldogs as she went 2-for-4.

Johnson went 3 2/3 innings for the Pioneers, allowing six hits and three earned run. Stroinski (1-5) gave up three hits and two runs over the final 2 2/3 innings. Paul (20-17) struck out five and walked one in the complete-game performance for the Bulldogs.

Game 2: Wingate 8, Tusculum 3
(Box Score)

The Bulldogs broke a 2-2 tie with six runs in the fifth inning on five hits and two key errors by the Pioneers to finish off the sweep of the doubleheader.

Braswell opened the fifth with her second homer of the day and seventh of the season to give Wingate a 3-2 lead, Owens and Pendley added RBI singles and Burrell contributed a two-run single in the frame for the Bulldogs, who finished with 11 hits in the contest.

Ashley Burke hit a solo home run for the Pioneers, who received two hits and two runs scored from Lindsey Umberger and two hits from Savannah Ewing.

Tusculum took a 1-0 lead in the third against Paul as Umberger singled with one out, moved to second on a passed ball, took third on a bunt single by Ewing and scored on a single by Stroinski.

Wingate answered with two runs in the bottom of the third on a two-out, two-run double by Brittany Loudermilt off Stroinski, but Tusculum came back to tie the game in the fifth as Umberger tripled with one out and scored on a single by Ewing.

After Wingate's big fifth inning, the Pioneers closed out the scoring in the top of the sixth on a one-out solo home run by Burke.

"We made some mental miscues and errors that came back to haunt us," said Gillum. "We gave up too many runs on errors, and it wound up costing us."

Loudermilt, Pendley and Wortham all had two hits in the game for the Bulldogs, as eight of the nine starters picked up at least one hit in the game. Pendley also scored a pair of runs.

Paul (21-17) went the distance for the second time on the afternoon, giving up seven hits and two earned runs while striking out three. Stroinski (1-6) allowed eight runs (three earned) on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, with Lindsay Bridges finishing with 1 1/3 scoreless frames.

- TC -

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