GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Taylor Plemons pitched a three-hit shutout in the opener as Tusculum split a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader with visiting Coker Saturday afternoon at Red Edmonds Field.
The Pioneers won the opener 2-0 behind Plemons first shutout of the season, while the Cobras (31-11, 7-3 SAC) tallied 14 hits in the second contest to win 6-1 and salvage the split.
Tusculum 2, Coker 0
Plemons retired 19 of the last 20 batters she would face, including a stretch of 15 in a row in Tusculum's 2-0 victory over Coker.
Plemons got off to a bit of a shaky start in the opening inning as Cacey Simmons legged out an infield single and followed with a stolen base. Maria Williamson singled, but leftfielder Taylor Battle gunned down Simmons at the plate.
Tusculum got a run in the second inning and another in the third to account for the only offense in the game. In the second, Morgan Mahaffey lined a RBI single down the left field line to drive in pinch-runner Emily White with the game's first run. In the fourth, Jenna Restivo led off with a double, moved to third on Rachel Wisener's single and came into score thanks to Michelle Miller's base hit as the Pioneers led 2-0.
Meanwhile, Plemons retired the Cobras in order in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings and got the first two batters in the sixth, before Kelsi Bachmann reached on a two-out single.
Plemons closed out the game retiring four in a row to post her 11th win of the season. She did not walk a batter and finished with five strikeouts in the victory for her second career shutout.
Tusculum's Emily Hester went 2-for-3 in the game with a walk, while Restivo posted her sixth double of the season.
Coker starting pitcher Christine Carver suffered the loss to fall to 6-4 on the year.
Coker 6, Tusculum 1
Taylor Barcomb went 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Breana Ard and Bachmann each went 2-for-3 and both scored a pair of runs in Coker's 6-1 win in the night-cap.
Coker starting pitcher Taylor Forehand worked around some first inning trouble and followed by retiring seven straight for the Cobras.
Coker ended its scoring drought in the third inning when Ard hit a screaming liner off of leg of TC third baseman Delaney Guerrero. Bachmann laid down a bunt and the throw to first base was mishandled to put runners on the corners with no outs. After a bunt moved Bachmann into scoring position, Williamson hit a bloop-single to bring home Ard. Barcomb followed with a single to left to bring in Bachmann from third base.
The Cobras added three more runs in the fourth thanks to a squeeze bunt by Simmons and a two-out RBI single from Barcom as Coker led 5-1.
The Pioneers got a run back when Hester led off the fourth with a line-drive home run over the fence in right field. But that would be the only offense for the Pioneers in the game as reliever Nikki Linthicum pitched the final three innings to secure her third save of 2017.
Forehand (8-1) went four innings, allowed four hits, one run, one walk and posted two strikeouts. Linthicum posted three innings, allowed a hit with one walk and two strikeouts.
Plemons (11-8) suffered the as she went 3.1 innings where she allowed seven hits, four runs, two earned, and tallied one strikeout.
Johnson accounted for two of Tusculum's five hits as she went 2-for-3 in the loss.
The Pioneers are back in action on Wednesday as they travel to cross-mountain rival Mars Hill on Tuesday for a 2 p.m. doubleheader.