Pioneers tie home-run record in sweep of Erskine

Pioneers tie home-run record in sweep of Erskine
DUE WEST, S.C. ---

Tusculum College tied a program single-game record with four home runs in a 6-4 victory over Erskine College in game two of the teams' non-conference softball doubleheader Tuesday afternoon. The Pioneers won the opener 7-3 behind a three-hitter from Elizabeth Johnson, who tossed a pair of complete-game wins.

The Pioneers (25-14) host Wingate in a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Red Edmonds Field. The Flying Fleet (8-13-1) are on the road Wednesday for a Conference Carolinas twinbill at North Greenville.

Game 1: Tusculum 7, Erskine 3
(Box Score)

Lindsey Umberger hit a two-run home run and Kaytlin Stroinski finished 2-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in for the Pioneers, who took advantage of six errors from the Flying Fleet to score four unearned runs.

Larissa Shannon accounted for Erskine's runs with a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth after Tusculum had taken a 7-0 lead behind three-run innings in the fourth and sixth.

The Pioneers managed just one hit over the first three innings against Flying Fleet starter Kelsey Spurrier, before tallying three runs in the fourth on three hits. With one out, Stroinski doubled and later scored on a groundout by Katie Brennan for a 1-0 Tusculum lead. After a walk to Paige Sneed, Umberger socked her second home run of the season to push the Pioneers on top 3-0.

Tusculum tacked on a run in the fifth as Carolyn Williamson reached on an error and later scored on a misplay following a single by Brennan. The Pioneers scored three more runs in the sixth as Nicole Ball and Samantha Silver singled with one out, and Ball would later score on back-to-back errors. Stroinski followed with a two-run single to drive home Silver and Williamson and give the Pioneers a 7-0 lead.

Erskine was limited to one hit by Johnson into the sixth, when a single by Kaitlyn White and an error set up a three-run home run by Shannon with two outs that cut the margin to 7-3. However, Johnson retired the final four batters of the game to lock up the victory for the Pioneers.

Silver finished 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Pioneers, while Williamson scored a pair of runs out of the leadoff spot. Sneed had a double in addition to her walk in four trips to the plate.

Johnson (11-8) struck out four and did not walk a batter for the Pioneers in her complete-game effort. Spurrier (6-7) allowed eight hits and seven runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and a walk before giving way to White for the final 1 1/3 innings.

Game 2: Tusculum 6, Erskine 4
(Box Score)

The Pioneers tied the program record for home runs in a game which was set exactly 18 years earlier, on April 2, 1995 against Gardner-Webb. Stroinski, Umberger, Sneed and Alix Kruel all went deep for the Pioneers, who piled up 11 hits as a team in the game.

Ericka McCarson accounted for all four runs for the Flying Fleet with a pair of two-run home runs, but Johnson otherwise kept the Erskine lineup in check to earn her second victory of the afternoon.

Kruel finished 3-for-3 for the Pioneers while Sneed was 2-for-4 for an attack that saw eight of its nine starters reach via base hit.

The Pioneers opened the scoring in the second off Flying Fleet starter Heather Richey as Sneed connected for her first home run of the season to lead off the frame. Kruel duplicated the feat to lead off the third inning to give Tusculum a 2-0 lead, and after a one-out single by Miranda Beeler, Stroinski hit her fifth homer of the year to double the Pioneer advantage to 4-0.

Erskine got two runs back against Johnson in the bottom of the third as Whitney Brown led off with a single and McCarson slammed her third home run of the season to leave the Pioneers ahead by a 4-2 margin.

In the fifth, Brennan walked with one out and scored when Umberger hit her second home run of the day, a two-run shot that gave Tusculum a 6-2 lead. Brown and McCarson duplicated their earlier performance in the bottom of the fifth, as a single by Brown was followed by a two-run shot from McCarson that trimmed the Tusculum lead to 6-4.

McCarson came to bat as the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh but was retired on a fielder's choice grounder to Kruel at second to end the game.

Johnson (12-8) allowed seven hits and four earned run while striking out five and not walking a batter. Richey (0-1) was tagged for all four home runs and eight total hits in five innings of work for Erskine, with four strikeouts and two walks.

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