SAC CHAMPIONS!!! Tusculum wins fifth SAC baseball titleApril 14, 2012
Pioneers sweep Bears, set league record for most conference wins in a season
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The third-ranked Tusculum College baseball team swept a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader over Lenoir-Rhyne University Saturday afternoon to capture the program’s fifth SAC Championship in school history.
Tusculum (39-7, 24-3 SAC) sweeps the three-game weekend series over the Bears (12-37, 8-19 SAC), while establishing a new league record for most SAC baseball wins in a season with 24, surpassing the 23 conference wins posted by Catawba College last year (23-4).
The Pioneers also clinch the top seed in next week’s Food Lion SAC Tournament and will take on No. 6 seed Newberry College this Thursday at noon in the opening game of the six-team, double-elimination event, held in Forest City, N.C.
Tusculum rattled off 19 hits, including Aaron Guinn’s 4-for-5 performance in TC’s 16-3 win in the opener. Cade Stallings went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, while Taylor Rakes pitched a gem in a 6-1 victory in the night-cap to seal the SAC title.
“Adam Sigmon and Taylor Rakes were solid go us today. Cade Stallings and Aaron Guinn had great days at the plate for us,” said Tusculum head coach Doug Jones. “I thought our entire lineup had a good approach offensively. I am so happy for this senior class. They have worked extremely hard and they deserve to be called champions.”
Game 1: No. 3 Tusculum 16, Lenoir-Rhyne 3
Tusculum parlayed a seven-run second inning, while Adam Sigmon (6-1) tossed seven strong innings in a 16-3 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne in the first game.
Guinn followed Friday’s night’s 5-for-6 performance with a four-hit outing, including a RBI and three runs scored. Cody Coffman continued his torrid hitting with three hits, while Stallings went 2-for-4 with four RBI, including his 10th home run of the season.
Tusculum got on the board first with a run in the opening frame as Guinn doubled and scored on Stallings one-out single. TC had the bases loaded with one out, but Matt Henriksen lined a sharp grounder that was fielded cleanly by second baseman Mike Gasque, who started an inning-ending double play.
After L-R tied the game with a run in the top of the second, the Pioneers answered in the bottom of the frame as 11 batters went to the plate, with the big hit of the game coming on Herniksen’s two-out, three-run double.
L-R cut into the deficit with solo home runs by Ivan Vieitez in the third and Rai Robinson in the sixth. But Tusculum got a two-run homer by Stallings in the fifth, and added six more runs down the stretch to complete the rout.
Also adding multi-hit performances for Tusculum were Lukas Graves, Carlos Santana and Colon. Will Whitty, Dalton Hall and Robinson all tallied multi-hit outings as the Bears finished with 10 hits in the contest.
Sigmon picks up his sixth win of the year, going seven innings, scattered eight hits, allowed three runs, a walk and six strikeouts. Seniors Eddie Viòas and Eric Conley limited the Bears to a pair of singles in the final two innings to end the game. L-R starter Jared Carroll suffered the loss to fall to 4-5 on the year.
Game 2: No. 3 Tusculum 6, Lenoir-Rhyne 1
Tusculum jumped out to a six-run lead and Rakes made it stick as the Pioneers won the second game 6-1 to clinch the series and the conference championship.
Of Tusculum’s dozen hits, seven were for extra bases, including six doubles.
Stallings continued his blistering day with his three hits, while Graves, Colon and Henriksen also accounted for multi-hit contests. Coffman recorded for one of the three doubles in TC’s three-run third inning, extending his personal hitting streak to 21 consecutive games.
Rakes was masterful again as he recorded his fifth straight victory in as many starts for the Pioneers. Rakes went 6 1/3 innings, allowed seven hits, one run, no walks and five strikeouts. Michael Franklin surrendered a hit, but recorded the final two outs of the game to send the Pioneer Park crowd into a furious frenzy with the title clinching win.
Tusculum scored once in the first inning as Stallings hit a two-out double and later scored on Colon’s two-base hit. After going down in order in the second, TC plated three runs on four hits in the third, including run scoring doubles by Stallings, Coffman and Henriksen as the Pioneers led 4-0.
Tusculum added a run in the fifth on Colon’s 15th home run of the season, while Graves scored the final run for the Pioneers when he led off with a single and later crossed the plate on Stallings’ base hit.
L-R’s Luke Baynham went 3-for-3 for the Bears, while Stephan Arcieri added two hits in the loss for the visitors.
It was a happy “Senior Day” for the Pioneers as the College honored its 14 baseball seniors prior to today’s action. Seniors honored, included: TJ Abounader, Cody Coffman, Alexi Colon, Eric Conley, Blair Cowley, Michael Franklin, Craig Goodman, Lukas Graves, Aaron Guinn,, Dylan Hochevar, Nate Reid, Carlos Santana, Brittan Shaw and Eddie Viòas.