GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The Lady Railsplitters held the lead in both games of a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader with Tusculum on Wednesday, but they were unable to hold on as they dropped 13-5 and 9-8 decisions to the Pioneers. Lincoln Memorial University (20-13, 3-5 SAC) was swept for the first time in conference play this season after opening league play with three-straight series splits. Tusculum improves to 17-12 on the year and 5-1 in the SAC.
Lincoln Memorial is set to hit the road this weekend for a two-game set at Catawba College. The Lady Railsplitters and Indians are scheduled to get under way at 1 p.m. in the first of two SAC contests in Salisbury, N.C., on Saturday.
Tusculum 13, LMU 5 (5 innings)
The Lady Railsplitters put up five runs on five hits with two outs in the top of the first inning. Amanda Snow pounded a home run over the right-field fence to spark the rally, while Andrea Foster notched a two-run double in the inning. Cierra Mudd added her third home run over the last three games later in the inning with a two-run blast over the left-center field wall to make it 5-0.
The Pioneers received a two-out triple off the bat of Kaytlin Stroinski in the bottom of the first, bu LMU starter Samantha Smith struck out Katie Brennan to shut down the rally.
The Pioneers would eventually answer the Lady Railsplitters’ five two-out runs by rallying for eight two-out runs in the top of the second. Tusculum tallied seven hits in the inning, five of which came with two outs, highlighted by two-run doubles by Stroinski and Nicole Ball to take an 8-5 lead.
Stroinski added an insurance run for the Pioneers in the bottom of the third with a two-out, RBI-single to make it 9-5.
The Lady Railsplitters loaded the bases in the top of the fourth following a walks to Danae Reed and Kirstin Toole around a single by Brianna Mulkey. But the rally was cut short in the next at-bat, as Snow hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Pioneers ended the game early by rallying for four runs on three hits. Stroinski put in a two-run single in that frame and Ball reached on a fielder’s choice later in the inning, plating Brennan to end the game.
Smith (14-6) was saddled with the loss after allowing eight hits and eight runs in 1-2/3 innings of work. Snow added three innings in relief of five-hit, five-run ball.
Leah Powell picked up the win for the Pioneers, improving to 2-0 on the season after allowing only one hit in 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Stroinski was the story of the game for Tusculum, as the three-hole hitter knocked in in a four-for-four showing at the dish. Ball added three RBI with three hits.
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Tusculum 9, LMU 8 (8 innings)
Game two saw Snow put the Lady Railsplitters out to an early 2-0 lead with a two-run bomb. With two home runs on the day, Snow moved her season total to eight which ranks third in the South Atlantic Conference.
Tusculum answered with a five-run rally in the bottom of the first. The Pioneers used six hits, highlighted by Leah Powell’s two-run double and an error by the Lady Railsplitters to take a 5-2 lead after one.
Mudd led off the second inning with a triple, but was stranded there after a strike out and two straight ground outs.
The Lady Railsplitters eventually broke through with two runs in the top of the third. Mudd had a run-scoring hit and two Pioneer errors helped LMU make it 5-4.
In the top of the fourth, Lincoln Memorial tied the game with a sacrifice lineout off the bat of Laura Taricano to plate Mulkey, who led off with a single.
The game remained knotted at 5-5 through the fifth inning before LMU took the lead on a two-run top of the sixth. Andrea Foster drew a bases-loaded walk and Mudd capped the scoring with an RBI-single to left for a 7-5 lead.
It was still 7-5 going into the bottom of the seventh when Stroinski was hit by a pitch to put a runner on for Nicole Ball and she capitalized with a two-run blast over the left field fence.
In the eighth, the Lady Railsplitters came up empty and the Pioneers came through in the bottom half of that frame. With the bases loaded after a single by Miranda Beeler and a fielder’s choice by Williamson, Stroinksi drew a walk to force home the winning run.
The Lady Railsplitters fell despite out-hitting the Pioneers, 13-12. Kirstin Toole, Brianna Mulkey and Cierra Mudd led the way with three hits apiece, while Mudd, Laura Taricano and Amanda Snow added two RBI each. Sarah Walz chipped in with a two-for-four showing with two runs.
Samantha Smith (14-7) was handed her second loss of the afternoon after allowing nine hits and seven runs in 7.1 innings of work on the mound for the Lady Railsplitters.
Kelly King improved to 9-4 on the mound for Tusculum with six innings of 10-hit, four-run ball. Alix Kruel, Nicole Ball, Lindsey Umberger and Miranda Beeler notched two hits apiece for the Pioneers.