Big eighth inning gives Tusculum win over BrevardMarch 11, 2016
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – A five-run eighth inning turned a pitcher’s duel into a comfortable victory for Tusculum as the Pioneers defeated Brevard 7-0 in Friday night South Atlantic Conference baseball action.
Starter Kyle Pittman shut down the Pioneers (14-6, 2-2 SAC) through the first seven frames, taking a no-hitter two outs into the fifth inning. Tusculum’s first hit of the game gave the Pioneers the lead, with catcher Jim Tolle’s first-pitch single up the middle giving Tusculum an unearned run to break the scoreless tie.
The Pioneers struck for another run on two hits in the sixth before breaking through against Pittman in the eighth. A one-out rally began with a one-out triple. Two batters later, Cole Baxley’s three-run homer extended Tusculum’s advantage to 5-0. The Pioneers would go on to score twice more in the inning to spoil an impressive evening by Pittman.
The junior left-hander went a complete-game eight innings for Brevard (8-15, 1-6 SAC), allowing seven runs on eight hits in total but just two runs on three hits through the first six frames. He located 76 of his 109 pitches for strikes.
Pittman was outdueled by Tusculum’s Placido Torres, widely regarded as the top left-hander in the South Atlantic Conference and winner of four of the conference’s first five Pitcher of the Week awards in 2016. The senior needed 128 pitches to shut down the Tornados’ offense over nine innings, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out 14 batters.
Ryan Smith was the only Tornado to find sustained success against Torres, raising his batting average to a team-high .358 with a 2-for-4 evening. Josh Hall, Christian Dix, and Caleb Jones also recorded hits for the Tornados. Brevard had two runners reach third base but was unable to produce a run-scoring hit.
J.J. Wesley and Kevin Victoriano each recorded a pair of hits for Tusculum. Baxley was the only Pioneer to record multiple RBI’s in the contest, all coming on his pinch hit home run in the eighth.
The Tornados and Pioneers will conclude their series with a pair of games beginning at noon Saturday.