ORANGEBURG, S.C. --- The Tusculum University softball team took both games of the doubleheader over the Claflin University Panthers on Sunday afternoon. Game one took all seven innings with a 7-1 final score, while the second game was a 12-2 run-rule in five frames.
The Pioneers (4-0) are scheduled to have their home-opener on Saturday (Feb. 8) against Davis & Elkins, starting at 1 p.m.
With the perfect start through the two series, TU head coach Julie Huebner is the first leader in program history to begin multiple seasons with at least four-straight wins. The 2018 squad also beat both Claflin and Converse to open up the year.
The Tusculum bats had yet another fantastic outing, totaling 20 hits, including seven for extra bases, and 16 RBI. The offense recorded six doubles, one triple, 11 walks, and two stolen bases on the day.
Game 1: Tusculum 7, Claflin 1
A big second inning provided the separation Tusculum needed to push past Claflin in the first game. Madison Michael picked up her second win of the young season in another superb showing. She gave up two hits, plunked one batter, and struck out four.
The Pioneers started right where they left off yesterday. Anna Alloway began the day with a single down the left field line, followed by a single from Alexis Grampp. Both runners advanced 60 feet thanks to a wild pitch and Taylor Johnson joined the base path courtesy of a walk. Grayson Brown stepped in with an infield single to score Alloway for the first run of the afternoon.
Tusculum was able to extend the lead via a four-run second inning. Alloway drew a walk with two outs, while Grampp reached first on a dropped fly ball by the Claflin shortstop. Reaching third on the previous play, Alloway scored on a Johnson single through the left side. Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Sammie West. An error by the centerfielder allowed West to advance to first base, meanwhile scoring all three runners.
Claflin got into the scoring column in the bottom of the third inning. An error gave Angel Johnson the chance to reach first and, thanks to back-to-back fielder's choice plays, she moved over to third. A double-steal of second base and home plate put a tally in the Panthers' favor.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Tusculum added a pair of runs to put the game out of reach. Kristen Gass reach on a fielding error, stole second, and advanced to third on a Brittney Franse fielder's choice. Grampp launched a double to bring in both Gass and Franse to seal the win.
In the game, the Pioneers struck out three times, drew six walks, and collected eight hits.
Game 2: Tusculum 12, Claflin 2 (5 innings)
Allison Pate began her senior season with a solid performance in the blowout of the Panthers, allowing four hits to six strikeouts in the complete game run-rule. Both Alloway and Grampp collected a trio of RBI to account for half of the Tusculum runs.
Claflin took the early lead in the first inning. Angel Johnson walked as the first batter for the Panthers and quickly stole second. She was able to advance to third on the Pioneers' lone error of the game, before a Janell Brown fielder's choice brought her home.
Tusculum responded with 10 unanswered runs between the next two innings. Brown walked to open the second frame and moved to second after West reached on the first of three Claflin errors in the inning. A Chloe Freischmidt bunt single plus a Panther error scored Brown and put West on third. Franse hit a shot to center field that was dropped, allowing both West and Freischmidt to cross home plate. Alloway followed that up with a single through the left side to score her teammate and bring Grampp to the batter's box. Grampp proceeded to launch her second triple in as many days.
The third inning featured much of the same. Freischmidt singled through the right side to score West after her double. Franse drove in a bases-loaded run, followed by an Alloway two-RBI double, and capped off with a Grampp single to left center, scoring Alloway.
The Panthers took one back in the bottom half of the inning on three consecutive singles.
The two-run fifth inning ensured the run-rule for the Pioneers. Alloway tallied her seventh walk of the year and was driven in by a Grampp double. Johnson followed suit with a single up the middle, bringing in Grampp for the game's final run.