FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. --- The Tusculum University women's bowling team went 4-1 on the opening day of the 2019 Hammer Bearcat Open, which is being hosted by McKendree University at the St. Clair Bowl.
Tusculum has won seven of its last eight matches to even its overall record at 9-9 in the program's inaugural season. The Pioneers recorded 5-Game Baker match wins over Dominican University (Ill.), Lewis (Ill.) University, Upper Iowa and Kentucky Wesleyan. TU's only setback came at the hands of 12th-ranked Central Missouri.
Tusculum is currently seventh in the 17-team tournament which includes six nationally-ranked programs. TU finished the day with 4,493 total points with host and second-ranked McKendree leading the event with 5,110 pins.
The Pioneers overcame a 40-pin deficit in Friday's opening match against Dominican, but rebounded with a convincing 858-692 and win by 166 pins.
TU stumbled in its next match dropping a 1038-862 decision to Central Missouri, but rebounded nicely with a gutty 940-912 win over Lewis University. TU followed with an 867-850 victory over Upper Iowa before closing out the day with a 966-892 triumph against Kentucky Wesleyan. TU's 966 pins are the most posted by the Pioneers using the 5-Game Baker format.
McKendree is first (5110), followed by No. 18 Maryville, Mo. (4837), No. 4 Nebraska (4795), No. 10 Wisconsin-Whitewater (4709), No. 12 Central Missouri (4671), Prairie View A&M (4513), Tusculum (4493), No. 19 UAB (4478), St. Francis-Brooklyn (4452), Lewis, Ill. (4451), Upper Iowa (4436), Valparaiso (4301), Kentucky Wesleyan (4244), Alabama A&M (3960), North Central (3958) and Dominican, Ill. (3577).
Tusculum will compete in Day 2 action on Saturday at the 17-team tournament.