Tusculum grabs win vs. top-five foe
Burke homers to break tie, hand Tusculum 3-2 win
DAHLONEGA, Ga. --- For the second time in three days, Tusculum College upset a top-five opponent as the Pioneers defeated fourth-ranked and previously undefeated Alabama-Huntsville 3-2 Sunday at the Captain D's Softball Classic, hosted by North Georgia.
Tusculum, which posted a 2-1 win in eight innings against second-ranked North Georgia on Friday, picked up just one hit in the win against the Chargers but made it count as Ashley Burke slugged a home run in the top of the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie.
Earlier Sunday, the Pioneers fell 3-1 to third-ranked Valdosta State to finish with a 1-3 record in the Classic and 2-4 against top-five opponents during the weekend.
Against No. 3 Valdosta State, the Blazers scored twice in the fourth and added an insurance run in the seventh to support starter Holly Satterfield (5-1), who allowed two hits and an unearned run and struck out four in the victory.
Erin Searcy (8-6) gave up just five hits and struck out six, but walked four for the Pioneers. Tusculum's hits came from Taylor MacDonald in the fifth and Katy Stuckwish in the sixth, with the latter driving home Lindsey Umberger with the Pioneers' lone run.
Valdosta State (9-2) struck for two runs in the fourth to break a scoreless tie. With two outs, a pair of walks were followed by a triple from Natalia Morozova to give the Blazers a 2-0 lead.
Tusculum threatened in the fifth, putting two runners on base with two outs, but Satterfield induced a comebacker to retire the side. The Pioneers' run came when Umberger reached on an error to open the sixth, moved up on two groundouts and scored when Stuckwish hit an 0-2 pitch up the middle for a single.
Valdosta State closed out the scoring in the seventh as a leadoff single led to a two-out RBI double from Ashley Steinhilber and a 3-1 Blazer lead. Satterfield set the Pioneers down in order in the seventh to seal the win.
Playing its sixth consecutive top-five opponent, Tusculum overcame a 2-0 first-inning deficit in the afternoon game with single runs in the third, fourth and sixth to defeat a ranked foe for the third time this season. The win also avenged an 8-0 loss by the Pioneers to the Chargers less than 24 hours earlier.
Elizabeth Johnson (10-2) settled down after giving up two runs on two hits in the first inning and shut down the Chargers (13-1-1) the rest of the way, stranding the tying run at third base to end the game.
Burke, who hit the game-tying home run in the seventh inning of the Pioneers' win against North Georgia on Friday, connected with two outs in the top of the sixth for the first and only hit of the game for Tusculum and a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Chargers threatened as Kellie Johnson tripled with one out. However, Johnson worked out of the jam by getting back-to-back fly balls to Burke in left field for the final two outs of the game.
UAH took a 2-0 lead in the first as two runs crossed the plate on a double by Abby MacKay. Tusculum got on the board in the third against UAH starter Whitney Gilbert as Katie Brennan walked, moved around on a sacrifice and a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout by Ashley Bagley.
In the fourth, the Pioneers tied the game by scoring again without benefit of a hit. Savannah Ewing drew a walk to open the frame, moved up on a sacrifice and took third on an error. Shanda Kimbrough then drove home Ewing with a groundout to knot the score at 2-2.
Johnson gave up four hits and struck out just one over seven innings of work for the Pioneers, while Gilbert (4-1) gave up three runs (two earned) on one hit, with five strikeouts and three walks for the Chargers.