JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – In a non-conference meeting between the two schools for the first time since 2008, Tusculum plated four runs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 6-6 tie and seal a 10-8 victory Tuesday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
With the win, Tusculum (6-5) beats Carson-Newman (6-6) at Mossy Creek for the first time since March 5, 2011 when the Pioneers posted a 7-3 triumph.
Tusculum raced out to a 3-0 nothing lead before C-N came to the plate. Two walks preceded an RBI single into left field by Colby Skeen for the game's first run. A bunt single by Zach Lippincott would be the final batter starting pitcher Drew Eller (Melbourne, Fla.) faced. A based hit through the right side of the infield by Daulton Martin and a fielder's choice brought home the final two runs of the top of the first inning.
"The top half of the first inning was bad," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "I don't know if you can get any worse than that as far as what we got to start on the mound. When we came in to hit we struck out the first three guys. It can't get any worse than that inning unless the third guy strikes out and reaches on a wild pitch and they strike out the fourth guy."
The Pioneers added to their lead in the top of the third inning as a single and hit batter began the frame. A successful sacrifice bunt pushed the runners into scoring position. John Topoleski hit a slow roller in the hole on the left side of the infield that was knocked down by C-N shortstop Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) but a run scored to make it 4-0.
The home group put a run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth. With a runner Brett Langhorne (Mechiancsville, Tenn.) standing at third base and two outs, Trever Lee (Garner, N.C.) served a base hit into left field just shy of the diving glove of left fielder Dante Key to pull C-N within three at 4-1.
A two-base throwing error by Topoleski allowed Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) to reach second to begin the bottom of the sixth. The next batter, Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.), smacked a single back up the middle to score Campbell slicing the deficit to 4-2.
Carson-Newman pitching had retired 14 straight batters entering the top of the eighth inning. Zach Lippincott laced a double down the left field line and Daulton Martin singled into right field to begin the frame. A base hit to right field from Dante Key and squeeze bunt up the first base line from Topoleski plated a pair pushing the lead to 6-2.
The Eagles pulled even at six in the bottom of the eighth inning. Senior Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) singled to right field to begin the frame. Campbell followed with a two-run bomb over the right-field fence on a 3-2 offering. Following a punch out, Paul Kirby (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) singled into center field and Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch scored Kirby and a fielding error by the second baseman Daulton Martin with two outs brought Jones home to equalize the game.
A fielding error and a fielder's choice where both players were safe ignited a four-run top of the ninth for Tusculum. Skeen doubled to left-center field. Back-to-back walks plated a run followed by a sacrifice fly to right. An RBI double down the left-field line by Topoleski capped the four-run inning.
Joe Selitto (Newton, N.J.) led off the bottom of the ninth inning and moved to third base as Addington singled to right. Two sacrifice flies from Campbell and Kirby respectively made it a 10-8 game before a ground out to first closed the game.
Addington, Lee and Selitto each had a pair of hits on the day for the Eagles as Campbell led the way with three runs driven in.
Lippincott led the charge for Tusculum collecting three hits in four trips to the plate scoring two runs. Skeen went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs.
Out of the bullpen, sophomore Ryan Victory (Brentwood, Tenn.) pitched a career-high five innings scattering four hits with one earned run yielded and one strikeout.
The Eagles begin South Atlantic Conference play Friday evening at 6 p.m. with a visit to the four-time reigning league champions, Catawba, in the first of a three-game series. All three games will have an audio stream available on cneagles.com/live starting 15 minutes prior to the first pitch on the Eagle Sports Network.
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