Tusculum sweeps Brevard, claims first place in SAC

GREENEVILLE — Tusculum College set a school single-game record with eight stolen bases in a 12-4 win in game one and Kelly King tossed a one-hitter in a 2-0 victory in game two as the Pioneers swept a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader from Brevard College Saturday afternoon at Red Edmonds Field.

 The Pioneers (19-12, 7-1 SAC), who have won five straight games and 13 of their last 14 contests, are in first place in the conference standings, a game ahead of Anderson and Lenoir-Rhyne. Tusculum will visit Carson-Newman on Tuesday at 2 p.m. while the Tornados (11-19, 1-7 SAC) host Newberry on Tuesday.

 The Pioneers broke the school single-game record of six stolen bases, set four previous times, and scored five runs in both the second and third innings to take control against the Tornados.

 Every batter in the Tusculum lineup either finished with either a run scored or an RBI, including three runs apiece from Alix Kruel and Kaytlin Stroinski and three runs batted in by Paige Sneed.

 Both Kruel and Stroinski finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two runs batted in for the Pioneers in the win. Miranda Beeler was 2-for-3 and scored twice as the Pioneers led 7-0 after two innings and 12-1 after three.

 Tusculum took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first against Brevard starter Jamie Hrobak. Kruel singled with one out and Stroinski and Ball drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Kruel scored on a wild pitch and Stroinski came across on a successful squeeze bunt by Sneed.

 In the second, Leah Powell tripled and Beeler was safe on an infield single. After a stolen base, Powell scored on a wild pitch for a 3-0 Pioneer lead. Kruel then walked and stole second, and both she and Beeler came home on a single to center by Stroinski which gave Tusculum a 5-0 lead. Stroinski later stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sneed, and Ball walked and would later score on another wild pitch to cap the five-run inning.

 Brevard got on the board with a run in the top of the third on a twoout RBI single by Brittany Tucker, but Tusculum came right back with five more runs in the bottom of the frame against reliever Alyssa Miller. Powell was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Beeler followed with a bunt single. After Powell was forced out at third, Kruel tripled to right to knock in Beeler and Carolyn Williamson to give the Pioneers a 9-1 lead. RBI singles by Sneed, Lindsey Umberger and Katie Brennan brought home three more runs and extended the Tusculum lead to 12-1.

 The Tornados fought back with three runs in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to 12-4, as Miller hit a two-run double and later scored on a fielder’s choice grounder. However, Brevard went in turn in the top of the fifth to end the game.

 Elizabeth Johnson (7-8) worked around eight hits and four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings to pick up the win for the Pioneers, with relief help from Powell and King. Hrobak (6-9) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings to take the loss for the Tornados in the opener.

 Miller led Brevard by going 2-for-3 with two runs batted in, while Brittany Jones and Kayla Clemens had two hits apiece. Both teams finished with 10 hits in the game, and the Tornados left seven runners on base while the Pioneers stranded eight.

 King (10-4) allowed just two baserunners and threw just 58 pitches to record her fifth shutout of the season. Ten of the 21 outs she recorded came on the first pitch, and the only batter to reach a threeball count was Emily Boykin, who saw eight pitches before working a full-count walk in the second inning.

 Umberger went 2-for-3 with a home run and scored both runs in the game, while Powell and Beeler each went 2-for-3 at the plate. The Pioneers finished game two with nine hits as a team but left nine runners on base.

Posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 11:47 am