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Tusculum hits five home runs in doubleheader sweep of Clark Atlanta

Emily Hester had five hits, including a home run, and 5 RBIs in the sweep of Clark Atlanta
Emily Hester had five hits, including a home run, and 5 RBIs in the sweep of Clark Atlanta

ATLANTA, Ga. --- Tusculum College swatted five home runs and piled up 28 runs in a doubleheader sweep of Clark Atlanta University in softball action on Sunday afternoon. The Pioneers won the opener 9-2 and captured the nightcap 19-1 in a game shortened to five innings by the eight-run rule.

Tusculum (3-1) will travel to Erskine on Wednesday for a doubleheader with the Flying Fleet, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Game 1: Tusculum 9, Clark Atlanta 2
Rachel Wisner went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run and two runs scored for the Pioneers, who had 12 hits as a team and posted three consecutive multiple-run innings to erase a 1-0 deficit.

Emily Hester finished 3-for-4 with three runs batted in while Sammie West was 2-for-5 with a double, a stolen base and an RBI for the Pioneers, who had all nine starters record either a hit or an RBI in the win. In addition to her three hits, Wisner threw out a pair of Panther runners attempting to steal.

Cayla Cecil (2-0) pitched five innings for the Pioneers, allowing nine hits and three walks but just two runs, while striking out four. Taylor Plemons pitched the final two innings, giving up one hit and striking out two while not allowing a run.

The Panthers jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Jessica Vason, and Clark Atlanta starter Ajada Cofield worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second as she carried the lead into the fourth.

In the fourth, the Pioneers took advantage of a pair of Panther errors and picked up four hits to take a 4-1 lead. Bailey Culler had an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1, Delaney Guerrero knocked in the go-ahead run with a groundout, West had an RBI double and Hester brought home the final run in the inning with an infield single. Cecil gave up three hits in the fourth inning, but came through with a strikeout with the bases loaded to keep the Tusculum lead at 4-1.

The Pioneers tacked on two runs in the fifth as Taylor Johnson led off with a single and scored on Wisner's home run to left which gave the Pioneers a 6-1 lead. Clark Atlanta added a run in the fifth when Lakimia Terrell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Tusculum's defense kept the lead at 6-2 when West threw out a runner at the plate attempting to score on a fly ball for an inning-ending double play.

The Pioneers put the game out of reach with three runs in the sixth on three hits and two more Panther errors. Hester had a two-run single and Robin Stoner hit a sacrifice fly during the frame, which gave Tusculum a 9-2 lead.

Clark Atlanta had 10 hits in the game, including two apiece from Tatianna Kelly, Sharnitra Woods and Kayla Montague. Kelly scored both runs for the Panthers in the game. Cofield worked five innings for the Panthers, allowing 11 hits and nine runs (six earned) with four strikeouts.

Game 2: Tusculum 19, Clark Atlanta 1 (5 innings)
The Pioneers had 10 of their 17 hits go for extra bases and slugged four home runs, including pinch-hit homers from Allison Pate and Treslyn Reese, in the game two win over the Panthers. Plemons (1-1) worked all five innings to earn the victory, allowing one run on four hits while striking out five.

West went 3-for-4 with three doubles, three runs scored and two runs batted in and Morgan Mahaffey finished 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs for the Pioneers, who scored at least two runs in all five innings. Eleven different players had at least one hit for the Pioneers, and 13 different players finished with at least one run scored.

Tusculum opened the scoring with two runs in the first on a wild pitch and an RBI double by Johnson, and added five more in the second on an error, an RBI double by West, a bunt single by Mahaffey and a two-run home run by Hester. The Pioneers added two more runs in the third on an RBI double by West and an RBI single by Mahaffey to go on top 9-0.

Clark Atlanta scored its only run of the game in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Sharnitra Woods, and the Pioneers answered with four runs in the top of the fourth. Robin Stoner hit a solo home run with two outs for a 10-1 Tusculum lead, and three batters later Reese slammed a pinch-hit three-run homer to extend the lead to 13-1.

In the fifth, the Pioneers put six more runs on the board on a two-run error, a two-run pinch-hit home run by Pate, an RBI single by Mahaffey and a wild pitch. Plemons then shut the door on the Panthers in the bottom of the fifth to finish off the sweep.

Shalonda Woods gave up 13 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits in four innings to take the loss for the Panthers (2-2), with Cofield allowing six unearned runs on four hits in the fifth. Jacey Gray led the Panthers at the plate by going 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored.

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