Baseball

Baseball splits with Tusculum in battle of nationally-ranked squads

In a battle of nationally ranked teams, No. 11 Tusculum College and No. 29 Catawba College split a South Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Park. Tusculum's Josh Wolff went 4-for-4 in the opening game as the Pioneers clubbed three home runs in a 7-3 win over the Indians. Catawba answered with a pitching gem by Matt Smith and Zach Evans in a 1-0 win over Tusculum. With the split, the Pioneers (28-8, 11-3 SAC) remain in first place in the conference by two games over the Indians (25-14, 9-5 SAC) and three in front of No. 21 Carson-Newman College. This weekend's three-game SAC series was abbreviated to just two games as Saturday's contest was rained out. In the opener, Tusculum recorded six extra base hits, including three home runs while TC pitcher Brent Gabel scattered nine hits and struck out five to improve his record to 8-0. Wolff accounted for four of Tusculumís ten hits as he posted a pair of singles, a double and his first home run of the season. Catawba plated a run in the first inning as David Thomas led off with a double, moved to third on a bunt and later scored on Jimbo Davis' double. Tusculum's Skip Talarek came through with a two-out, three-run homer in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. The Indians tied the game in the fourth inning on Matt Smith's two-run single to even the contest at 3-3. TC plated a run in the fourth and fifth inning and added two insurance runs in the sixth as Gabel and reliever Wes Hill shut the door on the 2004 SAC Champions. The Indians finished with five doubles, including the 15th of the season by Matt Baker as he went 2-for-3 in the game. Catawba's Matt Smith (6-2) cooled off Tusculum's bats in the nightcap as he tossed six strong innings, allowed three hits and struck out one in a 1-0 win by the Tribe. Smith helped his own cause at the plate hitting 3-for-4. TC's Eric Butler pitched seven strong innings as he allowed one run on nine hits and struck out six to fall to 4-4 on the season. Evans pitched the seventh inning and got out of a jam as he got a pop up on a bunt with the tying run at third base to win the game. Evans records his ninth saves of the season, which is tops in the league. Matt Baker and Nick Lefko each posted a pair of hits, including Lefko's two-out single in the fourth inning to score the only run of the game. #####

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