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Limestone sweeps doubleheader from Tusculum

Limestone sweeps doubleheader from Tusculum

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Limestone College swept a non-conference softball doubleheader from Tusculum College Monday afternoon at Red Edmonds Field, winning the opener 4-2 with two runs in the top of the seventh and finishing off the sweep with a 5-2 victory in game two.

The Pioneers (11-11) will travel to St. Augustine, Florida for four games later this week, starting on Thursday with a doubleheader against Flagler College starting at 11 a.m. The Saints improved their record to 19-3 and extended their winning streak to nine games with the sweep.

Game 1: Limestone 4, Tusculum 2
The Saints broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the top of the seventh after the Pioneers had erased a 2-0 deficit with runs in the fourth and sixth innings. Courtney Smith (7-1) allowed one earned run in six innings and struck out four to earn the win for the Saints, while Taylor Plemons (6-5) was the hard-luck loser for the Pioneers after allowing just four hits and striking out two in a complete-game performance.

Limestone took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning on an RBI double by Mary Hart and an RBI triple by Caroline Hill, but Plemons would retire the next 12 hitters to keep the Pioneers within reach. Tusculum scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth as Emily Hester reached on a one-out single, Taylor Johnson followed with a single and Robin Stoner drew a pinch-walk to load the bases. Bailey Culler then delivered a sacrifice fly to score pinch-runner Shelby Griffin and cut the margin to 2-1.

In the sixth, Johnson reached on an infield single and a throwing error with two outs, and pinch-runner Emily White scored on a single by Rachel Wisner which tied the game at 2-2.

The Saints regained the lead in the top of the seventh as Tessa Faucette led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored when she evaded the tag on a squeeze bunt attempt by Sam Thornton. After two walks loaded the bases, Emma Swearingen was hit by a pitch to bring home Thornton and give Limestone a 4-2 lead. Bailey Pearson pitched the seventh to earn her fourth save of the season for the Saints, allowing a pinch-double to Jenna Restivo and a walk to Sammie West before ending the game with a strikeout.

Johnson was the only player on either team to finish with more than one hit in the game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Bailie Maybry, Hart and Hill each had a hit and a walk as did Faucette, while Emily Hester was 1-for-2 with a walk for the Pioneers in game one.

Game 2: Limestone 5, Tusculum 2
The Saints took a 3-0 lead, then survived a sixth-inning rally from the Pioneers before pushing across two insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Josie Weber (8-1) threw a four-hitter and did not allow an earned run while striking out six to pick up the win for the Saints, who collected 10 hits in the game.

Hill went 3-for-4 with an RBI for Limestone, while Kelsey Collins was 2-for-3 with a two-run single in the fourth inning to give the Saints a 3-0 lead. Morgan Mahaffey was the top hitter for Tusculum in game two, finishing 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.

Limestone took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Tusculum starter Cayla Cecil as Maybry led off with a walk, stole second and scored on a single by Swearingen. A ground-ball double play turned by Tusculum third baseman Delaney Guerrero helped the Pioneers avoid further damage in the inning. The Saints increased their lead to 3-0 in the fourth as Collins delivered a bases-loaded single down the left field line to drive home Sydney Turner and Faucette.

Meanwhile, Weber allowed a leadoff double to West in the bottom of the first and then retired the next 15 Tusculum hitters as she carried a one-hitter into the bottom of the sixth. In the sixth, Mahaffey led off with a double, and Taylor Battle followed with a sacrifice bunt that Weber threw away at first base, putting runners at second and third. West came through with a sacrifice fly to drive home Mahaffey and cut the deficit to 3-1, and Hester reached on a two-out infield single that scored Battle and brought the Pioneers within 3-2.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Weber struck out Wisner on three pitches but the ball bounced off the glove of catcher Collins and rolled away. As the would-be tying run crossed the plate, Collins' throw to first was just in time to put out a sliding Wisner and keep the Limestone lead at 3-2.

The Saints would get two insurance runs in the top of the seventh off Pioneer reliever Eliza Davis, as Maybry tripled with two outs and scored on a double by Hart, who in turn scored on a single by Hill that gave Limestone a 5-2 lead. Mahaffey walked with one out in the seventh but a ground out and a fly out ended the game.

Cecil (4-5) worked four innings for the Pioneers, allowing six hits and three earned runs with a strikeout and two walks. Davis worked the final three innings, allowing two runs on four hits with one strikeout.






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