GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum University's Emily Hester went 5-for-8 on the day including her two-run single in the sixth inning of the second game to lead the Pioneers to a split with Lincoln Memorial University Wednesday afternoon in a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader at Red Edmonds Field.
In the first game, LMU's Sierra Hucklebee led a 16-hit performance going 5-for-5 at the plate in a 13-6 win over the Pioneers. Tusculum rallied from a 5-3 deficit in game two scoring four times in the sixth inning to defeat the Railsplitters 8-5.
Tusculum (18-18, 6-10 SAC) snapped a seven-game losing streak while knocking off previously 18th-ranked LMU.
TU's Anna Alloway also recorded five hits on the day, all doubles as the Pioneers and LMU each recorded 23 hits in Wednesday's doubleheader.
Game 1: Lincoln Memorial 13, Tusculum 6
Lincoln Memorial got a five-hit effort from Hucklebee and McKenzie Henry went 2-for-4 with four RBI including her three-run homer to spark a four-run sixth frame as LMU outslugged the Pioneers by a 13-6 score.
Of LMU's 16 hits, seven went for extra bases including six doubles and Henry's homer. TU finished with 11 hits which included three doubles from Alloway to tie a school single-game record with eight other players with the latest 3-double effort coming from Taylor Johnson against New Haven last year.
The first three innings did not give an indication of a slugfest starting pitchers Ivee Richesin (TU) and Faith Howe (LMU) held the opposing offenses in-check.
The visitors broke through in the fourth inning when Grace Cochran connected on her 11th double of the year with two outs as LMU led 1-0. The Railsplitters added three more runs in the fifth inning, all with two outs as Huckelbee, Henry and Emma Webb hit three consecutive doubles and Kelsie Hocutt followed with a RBI single as LMU led 4-0.
Tusculum answered in the bottom of the fifth though as Alloway led off with a double and scored on Casey's line-drive homer down the left field line to trim the deficit to 4-2.
LMU responded with four runs in the sixth and five more in the seventh to take a 13-3 lead.
The Pioneers plated one run in the sixth on Johnson's solo shot, and added three more in the seventh including a two-run double from Alloway for her third straight two-bagger to provide the final margin of the game.
Howe picked up the victory to improve to 11-3 on the year as she went 4.1 innings, allowed six hits, three runs and two strikeouts. Richesin suffered the loss in her 4.2 innings of work to fall to 6-6 on the year.
Game 2: Tusculum 8, Lincoln Memorial 5
Hester went 3-for-4 with three RBI and Taylor Plemons blanked LMU for the final 3.1 innings as Tusculum won the night-cap 8-5.
Plemons retired the final seven batters of the game and 10 of the last 11 to improve her record to 6-6 as she scattered a single and a walk with two strikeouts in her second relief appearance of the day.
Tusculum vaulted out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Hester drove in the first run of the game with her 13th double of the season. After a two-out walk to Alloway, Casey and Grayson Brown followed with back-to-back RBI singles.
The Railsplitters scored a pair of unearned runs in the second inning to cut the TU lead to 3-2. LMU later tied the game in the fourth frame as Hucklebee hit a two-out double and score on Henry's RBI single up the middle. A single by Webb moved Henry to third base and she would score on Hocutt's RBI single. On the play, Webb moved to third and then score on an error on the throw back to the infield to allow Webb to score as LMU led 5-3.
Tusculum added a run in the fifth as Johnson hit a two-out double and Alloway followed with her fifth double of the game and 10th of the season as TU trailed 5-4.
In the Tusculum sixth, senior Morgan Mahaffey legged out an infield single and moved to third on an Alexis Grampp line drive base hit back to the circle. A passed ball allowed the runner to move to second. Taylor Battle laid down a bunt single to load the bases. LMU starting pitcher Bailey Griffith got an infield fly for the second out, but Hester came through again with her two-run single to left as the Pioneers led 6-5. Johnson singled to center field and moved to second on a fielding error in the outfield as two runners crossed the plate as the Pioneers won 8-5.
Tusculum out-hit LMU by a 12-7 margin in the second game as both Johnson and Alloway had two-hit games.
The Pioneers will host Coker College this Saturday afternoon for Senior Day starting at 2 p.m.