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Big fourth innings lift Newberry to sweep of Pioneers

Big fourth innings lift Newberry to sweep of Pioneers

NEWBERRY, S.C. --- Newberry used big fourth innings in both games to sweep a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader from Tusculum on Saturday afternoon. The Wolves won the opener 10-7 and captured the nightcap 14-0 in five innings from the Pioneers.

Tusculum (22-21, 6-10 SAC) will begin the final week of the regular season with a road doubleheader at Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday, starting at 2 p.m.

Game 1: Newberry 10, Tusculum 7
The Pioneers led 6-2 after a third-inning grand slam from Emma Casey, but the Wolves scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead and added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth. Newberry had just nine hits in the game, but took advantage of seven walks and a pair of Tusculum errors to take the victory in the opener.

Haley Simonds went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in for the Wolves in game one, while Allison Van Atta hit a solo homer as part of a 2-for-4 performance. For the Pioneers, Taylor Battle, Delaney Guerrero and Emily Hester each went 2-for-4 for the Pioneers in the opener, with Battle scoring a pair of runs, as Tusculum had 10 hits as a team in the game.

The Pioneers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Battle led off with a single and scored on a one-out double by Hester off Newberry starter Emily Marchbanks. The Wolves came back with a run in the bottom of the first against Pioneer starter Taylor Plemons as Tori Caldwell walked with one out and scored on an infield single by Paige Meyer.

Newberry added a run in the second on a solo home run by Van Atta, but Tusculum regained the lead in the top of the third as singles by Guerrero and Hester and a walk to Taylor Johnson loaded the bases with no outs. Newberry appeared poised to escape the jam as Marchbanks retired the next two batters on infield popups, but Casey hit a 2-1 pitch over the fence in left for her first career home run and a 5-2 Pioneer lead. It was the first grand slam of the season for the Pioneers, and the first since Johnson hit one against Wingate in last year's SAC Tournament.

Tusculum's lead grew to 6-2 in the fourth off reliever Chelsey Cunningham as Hester reached on a two-out error, and scored on an RBI single by Johnson. However, Newberry stormed back in the bottom of the inning with six runs on four hits, including an infield RBI single by Caldwell and a two-run double from Simonds, which gave Newberry the lead back at 8-6.

The Pioneers cut the deficit to 8-7 in the sixth as Battle reached on an infield single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single by Guerrero. The Wolves were able to tack on two runs in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run single by Haley Wildes, and Alyssa Ball worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh for her second save.

Plemons (7-8) pitched 3 2/3 innings for the Pioneers, allowing five earned runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings with one strikeout and three walks. Ashley Scozzari tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs on one hit and three walks with one strikeout, with Allison Pate working a scoreless inning around a walk and two hits.

For Newberry, Marchbanks gave up five runs on six hits in three innings, with two strikeouts and three walks. Cunningham (4-1) pitched three innings of relief, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

Game 2: Newberry 14, Tusculum 0 (5 innings)
The Wolves (28-16, 9-7 SAC) pounded out 15 hits in four innings, while Ball (10-8) scattered two hits and needed just 58 pitches to complete the five-inning shutout. Newberry piled up nine runs in the fourth inning, and eight of the nine starters had at least one hit in the victory.

Natalie Willis led the Wolves at the plate in game two, going 3-for-3 with three runs batted in, while Meyer was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Morgan Wagaman was 3-for-3 and scored a pair of runs, with Caldwell going 2-for-4 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot.

Newberry scored a run in the bottom of the first against Tusculum starter Lizzy Galloway on an RBI single by Willis, and scored four times in the second on RBI singles by Daphne Peyton, Caldwell, Willis and Simonds. The fourth-inning surge saw the Wolves pick up just four hits, as the Pioneers committed two errors and allowed three runs to score with the bases loaded on a pair of hit batters and a walk. Meyer had the capping blow in the inning with a bases-clearing triple that extended the Newberry lead to 13-0.

Tusculum's only hits came in the fourth inning on an infield single by Guerrero, and in the fifth on a one-out double by Casey. Ball did not strike out any batters or issue any walks.

Galloway (3-5) gave up eight earned runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings, followed by Pate who surrendered four runs on four hits in 2/3 of an inning of relief.

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