GREENSBORO, N.C. --- Tusculum posted a 4-1 record Saturday including its second win over nationally-ranked Lincoln Memorial as the Pioneers completed day two action at the inaugural Vernell Stallings Invitational. The three-day, 12-team tournament is being held at the AMF All-Star Lanes and hosted by North Carolina A&T.
The Pioneers (23-25) opened the day with four impressive victories including a 952-922 win over 13th-ranked LMU for the Pioneers third victory over a ranked foe in their inaugural season and second in as many weekends against the Railsplitters.
Tusculum sophomore Erin Burkart led the Pioneer charge as she averaged 210.8 pins per match which is the seventh highest average in the tournament for the day.
Burkart bowled a 224 to open the day for Tusculum in an 890-861 win over Texas Southern for the Black and Orange.
TU rookie Alex Tieto bowled 213 and Raycine Mortensen added a 205 in Tusculum's 964-871 victory over Howard University.
Mortensen led Tusculum against LMU with her 214, while Burkart added 210 and Tacey Ballen bowled a 204 as the Pioneers knocked off their in-state foe for a second straight week.
TU eclipsed the 1,000-pin plateau in a 1,025-922 triumph over Coppin State. Burkart bowled a season-high 246 while Mortensen logged a 239 in the win.
Tusculum's only set-back of the day was a 908-869 loss to 16th-ranked UAB. Burkart was the top Pioneer once again with her 202 as she finished the day with 1,054 total pins, one of only 20 players to achieve the feat on Saturday. Mortensen was another of the 20 as her 205.2 average is ranked 15th in the tournament.
Tusculum remained ninth in the tournament standings with 9,212 pins. Host North Carolina A&T, who is ranked eighth in the country, has the tournament lead with 10,314 pins, followed by second place Mount St. Mary's (#21 in NCAA) with 10,081. No. 7 Maryland Eastern Shore is third with 9,948 pins, followed by UAB (9825), No. 17 Louisiana Tech (9788), No. 15 Delaware State (9604), Prairie View A&M (9598), Lincoln Memorial (9222), Tusculum, Howard (8918), Coppin State (8790) and Texas Southern (8557).
The Pioneers are 4-6 this weekend with all six of its defeats coming against nationally-ranked programs. Tusculum will face Prairie View A&M on Sunday morning to close out the second round. The bracket matches will begin afterwards which will decide the overall finish of the tournament.