Baseball Drops Series Opener 6-1 to #23 Tusculum


SALISBURY, NC -- Tusculum‘s Raymond Ruggles (Newport, TN) tossed eight innings of three-hit ball to lead the 23rd-ranked Pioneers to a 6-1 win over Catawba in South Atlantic Conference baseball action on Friday night at Newman Park.  Tusculum improves to 10-5 overall and 4-3 in the SAC, while the Catawba Indians fall to 11-6 and 4-3.

Tusculum scored the game’s first run in the third on a two-out double by Maikol Gonzalez (Maracaibo, VENEZUELA), but Catawba answered back in its third and tied the game on a bases-loaded wild pitch.  Ruggles would get out of further damage as he retired David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC/Ledford HS) and Jerry Sands (Clayton, NC/Smithfield-Selma HS) to end the inning.

The Pioneers pushed across the eventual winning run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Rivera (Leesburg, VA).  In the sixth, Tusculum scored on a catcher’s interference call, but Tribe starter Tim Smith (Walnut Cove, NC/S. Stokes, HS) struck out the next two hitters to keep the score at 3-1.

Matt Ford (Jonesborough, TN) gave the Pioneers some insurance in the seventh with a two-run single and Dustin Morrow (Lexington, KY) added a sacrifice fly for the 6-1 lead.  Ruggles did not allow a hit after a single to load the bases by Andrew O’Neal (King, NC/W. Stokes HS) in the third with only three runners reaching base (two walks and an error).

Gonzalez, Ford and Aaron Hudgins (Kingsport, TN) each collected two of the 10 hits by the Pioneers.  O’Neal, Thomas and Craige Lyerly (Salisbury, NC/E. Rowan HS) had the hits for Catawba.  Ruggles had seven strikeouts over his eight innings, while Smith fanned eight working into the seventh and allowed six runs (four earned).

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