DUE WEST, S.C. --- The Tusculum University softball team picked up its sixth win of the season, an eight-inning affair against Erskine, after falling earlier in the day to No. 5 Young Harris. The Bearcat/Fleet Invitational wrapped up on Saturday with the Pioneers going 2-2 in the two-day tournament.
The Pioneers (6-2) will play a mid-week doubleheader against Emmanuel in Franklin Springs, Georgia. The first pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday the 19th.
Game 1: No. 5 Young Harris 10, Tusculum 2
Early errors by Tusculum and big bats by nationally-ranked Young Harris (8-0) led to the Pioneers' second consecutive loss. The Mountain Lions were able to score four unearned runs across the first and last innings.
Young Harris brought two unearned runs across in the opening frame. Morgan Curley singled as the second batter of the game, advancing to second on a passed ball. Haylie Shope, reaching on an error by the centerfielder, moved over to second on the throw to the plate. Curley was able to put the first run on the board for the Mountain Lions. Jill Torres followed up with an RBI single to right field, collecting the second run.
Katelynn Hodges singled and Emily Harris walked to put two on base in the second for Curley. She knocked one over the fence to bring the score to 5-0 in favor of Young Harris. A handful of singles plated two more runners in the third inning as well.
Tusculum finally cracked the scoring column in the sixth. Taylor Johnson led off the inning with a walk, followed by back-to-back singles from Grayson Brown and Chloe Freischmidt to load the bases for West. She moved everyone up a base with a single of her own. Claire Crout drew herself a walk, earning her first collegiate RBI in the process.
The Mountain Lions tacked on three runs in the seventh to reach the double-digit precipice. An error in right put Hodges in scoring position at second base. Karah Straub walked and Harris singled to left, scoring Hodges. Curley doubled to plate Straub. Carly Rigsbee hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, bringing Harris in as the game's final run.
In the game, the Pioneers left 10 runners on base and struck out four times, but drew four walks against the Mountain Lion staff. Madison Michael picked up her first loss, pitching two innings and allowing three earned runs, while Ashley Scozzari threw the remaining five, also collecting three earned runs. The pair combined to allow 12 hits, seven walks, six earned runs, and struck out six Young Harris batters.
Game 2: Tusculum 4, Erskine 2 (8 innings)
The Pioneers used a pair of homeruns to escape the Flying Fleet in extra innings. Anna Alloway blasted a two-run shot in the top of the eighth inning to give Tusculum the needed edge to claim victory.
The contest was knotted at zero until the third frame. Johnson took a Kelci Brown pitch the distant, gifting the Pioneers a slight advantage.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Erskine seized their final chance. Megan Deal singled in the infield and advanced to second on a groundout. Another groundout put the Flying Fleet against the wall. Allison Neeley hit the ball just far enough into center to allow Deal to round the bases and tie the game, forcing extra innings.
With Kristen Gass placed on second for the international tie-breaker, Brittney Franse executed a sacrifice bunt to advance Gass 60 feet. Alloway stepped up to the plate in crunch time and delivered with one swing. Alexis Grampp followed up with a walk, Johnson singled to left, and Brown drew a walk to load the bases. Freischmidt, facing a new pitcher, hit a sacrifice fly to right, which gave Grampp an opportunity to run home.
Seeking another shot to extend the game, Erskine faced a three-run deficit. With one out and two on base, Faith Belue was able to knock in one run on a single. The Flying Fleet were shut down after the hit, dropping the game to Tusculum 4-2.
Ivee Richesin turned in a solid performance, allowing seven hits, three walks, two strikeouts, and one earned run. Throughout the eight-inning complete game, the junior tossed 135 pitches.