Aaron Guinn's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning gave Tusculum College a 4-3 victory over Catawba College in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional baseball tournament at Scarborough Field.
The game was completed Friday morning after being suspended in the seventh inning Thursday night following heavy rains. Fifth-seeded Catawba (39-15) led 3-2 entering play on Friday, but second-seeded Tusculum (47-8) scored runs in the seventh and eighth to come back for the victory.
Michael Franklin (7-0) earned the win with 1 1/3 innings of relief, and John-Austin Shepard worked out of a jam in the ninth for his eighth save of the season for the Pioneers, which ties the program single-season record set in 2006 by Wes Hill.
Trailing 3-2 when play resumed, the Pioneers tied the game in the seventh against Indian reliever John Tuttle on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Heath Comerford that brought home Alexi Colon.
In the eighth, Tripper Crisson led off against Tuttle (4-4) with a single, took second on a sacrifice by Lukas Graves and scored on a hit to left by Guinn to give the Pioneers their first lead of the game at 4-3.
The Indians threatened in the ninth against Franklin, who took over on the mound for Pioneer starter Craig Goodman after the rain delay. Greg Lawson led off with a double, and pinch-runner Justin Morris moved to third on a sacrifice by Chris Dula.
Ryan Bostian greeted Shepard with a grounder to short, and Crisson's throw to the plate allowed Reid to block the dish and keep Morris from coming across with the tying run. Ethan Satterfield followed with a single off the bag at second to give the Indians runners at first and second, but Shepard fanned Furr to end the game.
Both teams finished with 11 hits in the game, with Catawba stranding 10 runners on base and Tusculum leaving 11 on the basepaths.
"I thought the rain helped us. We were not playing well. We were not very sharp. The break gave us a chance to get together and regroup," said Pioneer head coach Doug Jones. "We've done a lot of 3-inning intra-squad situations and we were able to execute when we came back today."
The teams had just finished the top of the seventh inning on Thursday afternoon when heavy rain began falling at Scarborough Field. After a delay of nearly two hours, the game was suspended until Friday morning.
Catawba took advantage of an error on the opening batter of the game to take a 2-0 lead in the first against Goodman. Furr drove in the first run with an RBI double and Julio Zubillaga grounded out to third to bring home Satterfield and give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
The Indians moved ahead 3-0 in the third when Bostian singled with one out, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Furr.
The Pioneers left two runners on base in the second against Indians starter Nick Lomascolo, but came through in the third on three consecutive hits by Guinn, Stallings and Colon, the latter driving home Guinn to cut the Catawba lead to 3-1.
Tusculum had the bases loaded with one out, but Lomascolo worked out of trouble by getting a popup and a strikeout to retire the side.
The Pioneers pulled within 3-2 in the sixth as Carlos Santana singled and took second on a throwing error, moved to third on an infield single by Nate Reid and scored on a sacrifice fly by Crisson.
Crisson's sacrifice fly was the final pitch thrown by Lomascolo, who tossed 104 pitches in 5 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out three.
Goodman pitched seven innings for Tusculum, giving up one earned run on nine hits while striking out seven and walking two. Franklin and Shepard combined to work two innings for Tusculum, giving up two hits and striking out a pair.
Reid led the way at the plate for the Pioneers, going 2-for-3 with a walk, while Furr was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs batted in for the Indians. Stallings and Santana each went 2-for-4 and Guinn was 2-for-5 for Tusculum, which did not register an extra-base hit in the game.
In Thursday's opening game, fourth-seeded Francis Marion defeated third-seeded Armstrong Atlantic 11-2. Armstrong will face the Mount Olive/Lander winner Friday evening, while the loser will play Catawba Friday afternoon.
Tusculum's 47 wins this season are the most in the nation, second most in school history and tied for the second most in conference history, matching Catawba's 47 wins in 2006. The Pioneers are three victories shy of matching the school and conference record of 50 wins set by Tusculum in 2007.