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#19 Lenoir-Rhyne escapes with sweep of Pioneers

#19 Lenoir-Rhyne escapes with sweep of Pioneers
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. ---

A two-run 10th inning in game two enabled 19th-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne University to escape with a 4-3 victory and sweep a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader at Tusculum College Wednesday.

The Bears (40-11, 12-4 SAC) won the opener over the Pioneers (29-20, 9-7 SAC) by a score of 5-0 as Dawon Millwood fired a no-hitter and Jessica Fellmeth hit a two-run home run.

Tusculum wraps up its conference schedule on Saturday with a doubleheader at Anderson, beginning at 3 p.m.

Game 1: Lenoir-Rhyne 5, Tusculum 0
(Box Score)

Millwood needed just 74 pitches to finish off her gem, surrendering just two baserunners. Katie Brennan drew a four-pitch walk with one out in the fifth but was erased on a double play, and Kaytlin Stroinski was hit by a pitch with two outs in the seventh.

"We hit some hard shots, but we hit them right at people. Millwood had a tough week last week, but she just mastered us today," said Pioneer head coach Fred Gillum.

The Bears broke a 0-0 tie with two runs in the top of the fifth, as Tameron Sealey scored on a fielder's choice grounder and Jody Mizelle also came home on an errant throw. Lenoir-Rhyne had loaded the bases with one out in the fourth on two singles and a walk, but Tusculum starter Elizabeth Johnson posted back-to-back strikeouts to end the rally.

Lenoir-Rhyne tacked on three insurance runs in the seventh on a two-run home run by Fellmeth, her 11th of the season, and an RBI single by Brittany Courson.

Johnson (24-10) gave up five runs (two earned) on 10 hits for the Pioneers, while striking out four and walking one. Coursen, Haily Jarman and Sarah Atkins all went 2-for-4 at the plate off Johnson for the Bears.

Game 2: Lenoir-Rhyne 4, Tusculum 3 (10 innings)
(Box Score)

Millwood was one out away from her second shutout of the day, but Tusculum's Brooke Lauritzen came through with the game-tying pinch single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 1-1.

After a controversial eighth inning, Lenoir-Rhyne went ahead 2-1 in the ninth on an infield single by Mizelle, only to see Tusculum knot the score in the bottom of the frame on a fielder's choice grounder.

The Bears took the lead for good with two runs in the top of the 10th on a wild pitch by Stroinski and an RBI double by Megan Laxton. The Pioneers answered with a run in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Katie Gross, but Millwood retired the final two batters to end the 2 hour, 46 minute marathon.

Tusculum came through with its first hit of the day off Millwood as Ashley Burke led off the second with an infield single. Meanwhile, Stroinski handcuffed the Bears until the seventh when Sealey led off with an infield single and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlee Carpenter for a 1-0 Lenoir-Rhyne lead.

Down to their final strike three times in the bottom of the inning, the Pioneers scratched out the tying run off Millwood. Lindsey Umberger started the two-out rally with a single down the left-field line, and Lindsay Bridges and Gross followed with walks, the latter capping an 11-pitch at-bat to load the bases.

Lauritzen then lined a single into center field to score Umberger with the tying run, but pinch-runner Alix Kruel was cut down at the plate by Sealey to send the game into extra innings and the international tiebreaker.

After Lenoir-Rhyne was held scoreless in the top of the eighth, the Pioneers advanced their runner to third base with a sacrifice bunt. However, a protest was lodged that Tusculum had put the improper runner on second base to start the inning. Following a discussion of nearly 15 minutes, the runner was ruled out as an illegal substitute and ejected from the game.

The Pioneers nearly escaped unscathed in the top of the ninth, but Mizelle reached when her grounder toward the left side took a bad hop and caught the Tusculum infielders off-balance, allowing Coursen to score the go-ahead run. Tusculum came back with a run to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth as Ashley Bagley moved to third on a bunt and scored on Burke's grounder to short.

Lenoir-Rhyne broke through for two runs in the top of the 10th as Carpenter scored on a wild pitch and Fellmeth came home on an RBI double by Laxton for a 4-2 Bears lead. Umberger scored on an RBI single by Gross to cut the margin to 4-3 in the bottom of the inning, but Millwood got the final two outs on routine fly balls to lock up her 27th win of the season.

"Millwood really kept us off-balance, and Kaytlin had a great outing for us too. For us to go extra innings, it speaks well of how we can compete with the number-one team in the league," said Gillum. "I think the one thing our kids will take away from this is that we can play with anybody."

Stroinski (2-7) worked a career-high 10 innings for the Pioneers, giving up two earned runs on nine hits while striking out five and walking three. Millwood, who threw 149 pitches, whiffed four and issued three walks while surrendering five hits over 10 innings for the Bears.

Fellmeth paced the Bears at the plate by going 2-for-4 with a walk, while Laxton was 2-for-5 with a run batted in. Gross led Tusculum by going 1-for-3 with a walk in four trips to the plate.

- TC -

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