Brevard, N.C. - Chelsi Mallory knocked out her fourth home run of the season in the second game of the doubleheader, but a two-run home run by Kaytlin Stroinski backed two strong pitching performances by Elizabeth Johnson as the Tornados were unable to hand Tusculum their first conference defeat as the Pioneers swept Brevard, 2-1 and 7-5.
Kayla Clemens (9-11) suffered both losses for the Tornados (14-18, 3-7 SAC), striking out nine batters over the two games, while Johnson (22-6) went the distance in both contests to keep Tusculum (25-12, 8-0 SAC) undefeated in conference play in 2012.
Brittany Fowler led all players with four hits on the day, while Stroinski, Lindsey Umberger, Ashley Burke and Chelsi Mallory all recorded multiple RBIs in the contest.
Game One: Tusculum 2, Brevard 1
Clemens threw a three-hitter in the contest, but Tusculum made every hit count as Savannah Ewing and Katie Brennan drove in runs as the Pioneers topped Brevard in the opener, 2-1.
Brevard loaded the bases in the bottom of the first against Johnson as Brittany Fowler opened the frame with a single, while Clemens and Emily Boykin drew back-to-back walks, but the Tornados were kept off the board as Johnson retired the side on strikes to keep the game scoreless.
Tusculum broke the scoreless tie in the third inning as Katie Gross reached on a one-out double to the left centerfield gap. A sacrifice bunt moved her over to third before Ewing singled through the left side of the infield, scoring Gross for the first run of the game.
The Pioneers doubled their lead in the top of the fourth as Stroinski reached on a walk to open the frame, advancing to third on a stolen base and a receiving error by the BC fielder at second base. Brennan brought her in with a sacrifice fly to left field, putting the Pioneers up 2-0 at the halfway point in the ball game.
Brevard responded with a run in the bottom half of the frame as Maddie Fletcher opened the inning with a single down the left field line. Alex Strickland came in to pinch-run for Fletcher, advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. An infield single by Ally Davneport pushed Strickland over to third, where she came around to score on Fowler’s RBI line drive single to right field, cutting the Pioneers lead in half.
Johnson shut down the Brevard offense over the final three innings, retiring the final 10 BC batters in order to keep the Tornados off the scoreboard as Brevard fell in the opener.
Game Two: Tusculum 7, Brevard 5
Tusculum plated seven runs in the first two innings and held off a Brevard comeback sparked by a two-run home run by Mallory in the third inning to close out the sweep over the Tornados.
The Pioneers chased BC starter Clemens from the contest in the first inning, plating four runs in the top of the first to give Tusculum control of the game early. Stroinski opened the scoring with a two-run shot over the centerfield fence for the first run of the game, while Ashley Burke and Brennan also drove in runs in the frame before Alyssa Miller retired the side on strikes to end the inning.
Tusculum added three more runs in the second inning as Lindsey Umberger tripled in two runs, scoring Stroinski and Ewing, while Burke singled Umberger home to stake the Pioneers to a 7-0 lead.
Brevard answered with their first run in the game in the bottom half of the inning as Clemens led off the frame with a base hit to straightaway centerfield. Emily Boykin followed two batters later with a double in the right centerfield gap, scoring Clemens from first to put up a crooked frame in the BC column.
Mallory helped the Tornados cut away at the lead in the third inning, driving in Fowler with a home run over the left centerfield fence, her fourth of the season to put Brevard back within four runs at 7-3.
Miller helped her own cause in the bottom of the fourth, driving in Heather Morris with a single, while Tucker drove in Meredith Davenport with an RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth to bring Brevard within two runs with two innings to play.
Johnson again held the Tornados offense at bay late in the contest, retiring the final eight Brevard batters to close out her second win on the day.
Brevard returns to the road, remaining in South Atlantic Conference play as the Tornados travel to Newberry, S.C. to take on Newberry College on Wednesday, March 28th. First pitch in the conference doubleheader between the Tornados and the Wolves is set for 2 p.m.