Pioneers Use Seven-Run Sixth to Avoid C-N Sweep

Pioneers Use Seven-Run Sixth to Avoid C-N Sweep

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Sean Finucane went 3-for-4 with six RBI, including a grand slam in Tusculum's 12-5 win over arch-rival Carson-Newman Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Park in South Atlantic Conference baseball action.

Tusculum (10-12, 4-8 SAC) used a seven-run, sixth inning, while Taylor Rakes pitched his first complete game of the season and his second of his collegiate career as the Pioneers salvage a win in the three-game weekend series and snap the Eagles' (13-7, 6-3 SAC) nine-game winning streak.

TC pounded out 11 hits in the victory, including three hits by Finucane and two hits each by Jared Richmond, Nate Grabowski and Tyler Collins.

The Eagles were led offensively by Tyler Davis and Evan Patterson as they accounted for two hits each in the loss.

Tusculum plated three runs in the first inning as the Pioneers used four hits and a bases-loaded walk off of C-N starter Wes McIntyre. Finucane drove in Richmond with the first run of the game with his single to right field. Paul Finger drew a walk to bring home Grabowski and Collins countered with a one-out, infield single.

Rakes faced the minimum nine hitters through the first three innings to maintain the 3-0 lead. McIntyre bounced back and worked his way out of several jams over the next four innings. TC led off with doubles in the third and fourth frames, but the Eagles kept within striking distance getting key strikeouts and a double play to keep the deficit at 3-0.

C-N scored two runs in the fourth and a run each in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 4-3 lead. In the fourth, the Eagles scored two runs with two outs thanks to an error. In the fifth, C-N mounted a two-out rally as pinch hitter Morgan Gregory drew a walk. Patterson came aboard to pinch run for Gregory and would tie the game at 3-3 thanks to a RBI single by Mills Rogers. The Eagles would take its only lead of the game in the sixth when Jeff Lockwood reached on an error, moved to third on Wesley Dozier's single and scored on Jonathan Dalton's ground out.

But in the bottom of the sixth, Tusculum batted around sending 11 players to the plate as TC used four hits and a key C-N error as the Pioneers scored seven times, with six of those runs being unearned.

Cotten led off with a single down the left field line and moved to second on Finger's bunt single. After a strikeout, Brett Mercurio drew a walk to load the bases. Rolondo Bonner reached on an error to tie the game at 4-4, scoring Cotten from third. Branfy Arias drove home the go-ahead run when he reached on a fielder's choice. Richmond singled and Grabowski drew a walk to load the bases for Finucane as he belted a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall for his first grand slam of the season and a 10-4 lead.

C-N tallied a run in the seventh as Patterson led off with a triple and later scored on a ground out. But the Pioneers added two runs to their tally in the eighth, including a RBI double by Finucane to put the game out of reach.

Rakes settled in and retired nine of the last 10 batters of the game to improve to 2-1 on the year. Rakes scattered eight hits, allowed five runs, two earned, walked two and struck out five as he totaled 129 pitches on the day.

McIntyre suffered the loss for Carson-Newman as he evens his record at 1-1.

Carson-Newman returns to action on Thursday when it hosts Anderson University (S.C.). The Eagles will host Lenoir-Rhyne Friday and Saturday in South Atlantic Conference action.

- TC -