JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --- Tusculum scored four times in the top of the ninth to break a 6-6 tie and held off a Carson-Newman rally as the Pioneers defeated the Eagles 10-8 Tuesday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Complex in a midweek, non-conference game.
Tusculum (6-5) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings and led 6-2 heading to the bottom of the eighth. The Eagles rallied with four runs in the eighth setting up a wild final inning.
TC scored three runs in the opening frame as the first five Pioneers reached base with Colby Skeen driving in the first run with a base hit. Daulton Martin drove in the second run with a single and John Topoleski plated the final run of the frame when he reached on a fielder's choice. TC added a fourth run in the third when Zach Lippincott led off with a single and later scored on a Topoleski infield hit.
Meanwhile, TC starter Tim Hardy was nearly untouchable through the first four innings. He retired the first eight batters to start the game before giving up a two-out double in the third. He allowed one hit, while posting eight strikeouts in his first four innings.
Carson-Newman scratched a run in the fifth and an unearned run in the sixth to cut the deficit in half at 4-2. The first two Eagles got aboard in the sixth when Brendan Campbell reach on a two-base error and scored on a Cade Snapp base hit. Chase McAllister relieved Hardy and retired the next three batters to end the sixth inning.
In the top of the eighth, Lippincott led off with a double for his third hit of the afternoon. Daulton Martin grounded a single through the right side to put runners on the corners. Dante Key singled home Lippincott and Topoleski laid down a sacrifice squeeze bunt to bring home Martin as the Pioneers led 6-2.
In the bottom of the eighth, C-N's Ryan Addington led off with a single and scored on Campbell's two-run homer down the right field line to cut the deficit in half at 6-4. After a strikeout, Paul Kirby singled forcing the Pioneers to go to the bullpen and bring in closer McKenly Berry. Berry hit pinch-hitter Greg Jones and later in the inning, a wild pitch scored Kirby and a TC fielding error with two outs brought Jones home to knot the contest at 6-6.
In the top of the ninth, the Pioneers took advantage of two hits and two C-N errors to score four times. Edison Cabrera reached on a base hit, while Jeremy Glore also got on base on a fielder's choice. Skeen drove in Cabrera with his second double of the season. Lippincott drew a walk to load the bases and Martin followed with another walk with the bases full to drive in the second run of the inning. Key followed with a sacrifice fly to score pinch-runner Johnny Reina from third base, while Topoleski drove in his fourth run of the game with a double to left center for a 10-6 Tusculum lead.
Joe Selitto led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and Addington singled him to third to put runners on the corners. Two sacrifice flies from Campbell and Kirby made it a 10-8 game before a ground out to John Bennett at first base ended the game.
Both teams accounted for 11 hits each. Lippincott wen 3-for-4, while Topoleski, Skeen and Martin all had two hits apiece. The got multiple-hit performances from Addington, Snapp, Trever Lee and Selitto.
Berry (1-0) picked up the win as he pitched the 1.2 innings, allowed four hits, three runs, one earned, and recorded a strikeout. C-N reliever Ranuel Perez (0-1) suffered the loss for the Eagles.
Tusculum will travel to King University on Wednesday before returning home this weekend to open South Atlantic Conference play against Coker with game one of the three-game series slated for 6 p.m. Friday at Pioneer Park.