Luff sets and ties K records, but FMU swept

Luff sets and ties K records, but FMU swept

FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University stranded 15 runners on base en route to an extra-inning 7-6 loss to Tusculum College and the Patriots were sept by the Pioneers in Thursday's (April 10) non-conference softball doubleheader. Tusculum won the opener 4-1 despite a school single-game record-tying 17 strikeouts by FMU senior right-handed pitcher Taylor Luff.

Francis Marion (22-24) will conclude its regular-season schedule with a pair of home Peach Belt Conference doubleheaders this weekend.   FMU will play host to 12th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University on Saturday at 2 p.m. as the Patriots honor the Wounded Warrior Project.  Sunday, Francis Marion will celebrate Senior Day with a noon twinbill against Flagler College.

In the opener, Luff allowed only three hits, but two of them left the yard.  Tusculum's Courtney Hutcherson hit a solo home run in the top of the third and Alix Kruel cranked a three-run shot with two outs in the fifth.  Luff threw 110 pitches and walked only two while fanning the 17 and tying the mark set by righty Heather Johnson in a 2000 game also against Tusculum.  Only one of the runs Luff allowed on Thursday was earned.  In the process, Luff also broke her own FMU single-season strikeout mark with 259, bettering the 251 she fanned last season.

FMU scored its lone run in the fifth when sophomore center fielder Jessie Sims singled home pinch hitter Lindsey Brown.  FMU stranded a runner on third in the sixth and then got the potential tying run to the plate in the seventh before being retired.

FMU registered only four hits in game one: by Briana Barzola, Megan Smith, Brown, and Sims.

Tusculum freshman righty Eliza Davis (5-7) earned the win.

The second game turned into a slugfest.  A quartet of Patriots recorded two hits apiece: sophomore catcher Taylor Barrineau, junior pitcher Katie Carnes, junior third baseman Shelby Mathews, and freshman center fielder Mikala Barnhart.

Each team scored once in the opening frame, with the Patriots scoring on a run-scoring single up the middle by Barrineau.  After the Pioneers went ahead 3-1, Francis Marion plated three runs in the last of the second.  Two of the runs scored on a Tusculum fielding error and junior first baseman Ashley Burney stroked an RBI single to center.

FMU upped its advantage to 5-3 when Tusculum allowed an unearned run on a two-out throwing error in the third.  FMU loaded the bases with no outs in each of the first three frames.

Tusculum plated two runs in the fourth to knot the score at 5-5 before Carnes and Pioneer junior Rachel Medley matched zeros on the scoreboard for the next three innings.

FMU nearly won the game on a fielder's choice grounder in the bottom of the seventh.  Carnes was ruled safe at home plate on a close force plate, but after the umpires consulted, the call was reversed and she was ruled out leaving the score tied.

Utilizing the international tie-breaker rule, each team scored once in the eighth inning.  Brown lifted an RBI single to left field, but on the play Kristie Hanewinckel was gunned down at the plate trying to score the winning run from second base.

Tusculum first baseman Paige Sneed drove in the winning run in the top of the ninth with a single to right center.  FMU got runners to first and third in the bottom of the frame, but Pioneer senior right-hander Kelly King induced a ground out to end the contest.

Medley (5-4) got the win, while Kelly earned her first save of 2014.

Carnes (10-11) allowed only six hits and three earned runs, while fanning seven and issuing only one base-on-balls.



Tusculum College 4, Francis Marion Univ. 1 (Apr 10, 2014 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
Tusculum College.... 001 030 0 -  4  3  1      (25-20)
Francis Marion Univ. 000 010 0 -  1  4  1      (22-23)
Pitchers: Tusculum College - Eliza Davis and Tavi Parris. Francis Marion Univ. - Taylor Luff
and Taylor Barrineau.
Win-Eliza Davis(5-7)  Loss-Taylor Luff(12-13)  T-1:40  A-608
HR TC - Courtney Hutcherson (3); Alix Kruel (1).
Weather: Sunny, 77, S @ 12 mph


Tusculum College 7, Francis Marion Univ. 6 (Apr 10, 2014 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
Tusculum College.... 120 200 011  -  7  6  4      (26-20)
Francis Marion Univ. 131 000 010  -  6 13  3      (22-24)
Pitchers: Tusculum College - Rachel Medley; Kelly King(9) and Tavi Parris.
Francis Marion Univ. - Katie Carnes and Taylor Barrineau; Danielle Myers.
Win-Rachel Medley(5-4)  Save-Kelly King(1)  Loss-Katie Carnes(10-11)  T-2:42  A-0
Weather: Clear, 76, SW @ 10 mph