HARROGATE, TN -- The Railsplitters received a strong pitching performance from Justin King to grab a 5-4 victory in game one and suffered a 4-2 loss in game two as they split a doubleheader with the Bellarmine University Knights at Lamar Hennon Field late Tuesday afternoon. Lincoln Memorial University hangs steady at 12-11 on the season following the split. The Knights move to 3-6 after the split decision.
In game one, Justin King provided a strong performance on the mound and Curt Fuqua added two RBIs to propel the Railsplitters to a 5-4 win.
In game two, the Knights slammed two solo homeruns and a two-RBI single to salvage a split with a 4-2 victory.
Game One- Lincoln Memorial-5
The Railsplitters threatened early as they found themselves with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first and no outs following an error, a single from Cody Baker and Curt Fuqua walk. The Knights got out of the jam with a strike out and a double play to keep it scoreless after one.
LMU responded by pounding out four runs in the bottom of the second frame. Andre Rodriguez led off that stanza with a single and John Saylor drove him home with a double into the right center gap. Saylor advanced to third on the throw home and the Knights issued a walk to Brandon Morris in the next at-bat. Another Bellarmine error plated another run for the 'Splitters to make it 2-0. A fielder's choice moved Morris and Horsley to second and third with two outs and Curt Fuqua capitalized with a single to right field to put LMU on top 4-0.
Austin Crutcher picked up a run for the Saints in the top of the third with a leadoff blast but Justin King sat the next three batters in order to limit the damage.
After a scoreless fourth frame and putting a goose egg on the board for the Knights in the top of the fifth, the Railsplitters mounted a run in the bottom of the fifth to extend their lead. Nick Pressley set the stage with a one-out single and Andre Rodriguez drove him home with a double to right center in the next at-bat.
Bellarmine University pressed the 'Splitters by rallying for two in the top of the sixth as Kal Scheler doubled home a run and was driven in by Phillip Leopold's single later in the inning.
The Knights held the Railsplitters scoreless in the bottom of the sixth and gave LMU a scare in the top of the seventh. After striking out the first two batters of the frame, a walk was issued to Cody Scheler to prompt the rally. Michael Morrissette and Kal Scheler singled in consecutive at-bats to bring home a run and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Closer Kyle Asher shut the door and stopped the bleeding as he forced a ground out to secure a 5-4 victory for the Railsplitters.
Justin King was strong in his start for the Railsplitters as he tossed five and two thirds, allowing only five hits and three runs while striking out four. Kyle Asher picked up the save as he came in to record the final out.
Andre Rodriguez led the Railsplitters with a couple of hits and Curt Fuqua notched two RBIs to power the win.
Game Two- Bellarmine-4
After perfect frames from both starters, Kyle Roden opened the scoring with a solo blast for Bellarmine University in the top of the second. Chris McCarter limited the damage to only that run as the Knights took a 1-0 lead.
The 'Splitters answered in the bottom of the second with Andre Rodriguez's solo homerun with two outs to tie the game at 1-1.
The Knights responded with another solo homerun in the top of the fourth as the third hit of the game and the third long ball of the day pushed Bellarmine in front 2-1.
The Railsplitters threatened in the bottom of the fifth as John Saylor reached on a fielder's choice, Joe Horsley walked, and Cody Baker reached on an error to load the bases. Bellarmine University stiffled the rally as they forced a strike out and a ground out to retain a 2-1 advantage.
The Knights rallied for two more runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by Kyle Roden's two RBI single with two outs to push the score to 4-1 in their favor.
LMU responded by mounting a significant opportunity in the bottom of the seventh as Scott Miller led off with a pitch hit single advancing to second on a wild pitch. A ground out moved Miller to third and Joseph Horsley singled to put runners on the corners with two outs. A balk plated a run and Curt Fuqua was hit to put runners on first and second and bring the winning run to the dish. The Knights salvaged the win as they forced a fly out in the following at-bat to take a 4-2 win.
Chris McCarter was saddled with the loss despite tossing five and a third of an inning in a strong start, allowing just three runs and six hits. The Railsplitters were outhit 8-4 in the contest.
The Railsplitters will return to South Atlantic Conference play over the weekend as they host Tusculum College for a three game set beginning on March 9th at Lamar Hennon Field starting at 4 p.m.
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