Tusculum University opened its spring men’s soccer schedule with a 3-1 non-conference victory over King University Wednesday night at Pioneer Field.

Harry Easterby, Jean-Pierre Vital and Michele Di Miele all scored for the Pioneers (1-0-0), who outshot the Tornado (0-1-0) by a 13-6 margin.

Damien Baltide assisted on the goals by Easterby and Vital, which gave Tusculum a 2-0 lead at halftime. King cut the deficit to 2-1 when Ruben Laureano scored off a broken play in the 63rd minute, but Di Miele headed home a header pass from Sander Johansen in the 65th minute to close the scoring.

Tusculum opened the scoring at 12:30 as a corner kick led to a shot from Baltide that was saved by King keeper Dalton Gammon, but Easterby pounced on the rebound and took a shot that caromed off Gammon and into the goal for a 1-0 Pioneer advantage.

At 20:12, the Pioneers went up 2-0 as Baltide fed Vital on a sharp angle to the left of the goal, and the freshman curled a shot over Gammon to the far upper corner.

King, which had one shot in the first half, broke through at 62:16 when a misplay in the back end by the Pioneers allowed Laureano to collect a loose ball and deposit a shot in the open net.

Just over two minutes later, a break led to the Pioneers’ third goal as Johansen headed to the center of the box for Di Miele, and the freshman headed home the insurance tally.

Tusculum had a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks in the match, while King was whistled for eight fouls to seven by the Pioneers.

Joao Kozlowski finished with two saves in goal for the Pioneers in his Tusculum debut. Gammon had three saves in the first half and Collin Parsons had one in the second half for the Tornado.

The Pioneers will begin their six-game South Atlantic Conference schedule with a match against Mars Hill on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Pioneer Field.

SOFTBALL Pioneers Sweep

SPRINGS, Ga. — The Tusculum University softball team swept the Emmanuel Lions on Wednesday afternoon, never relenting the lead throughout the doubleheader.

The Pioneers used timely hitting and solid pitching to earn 5-1 and 8-2 victories.

Tusculum (3-3) plans to host the annual Pioneer Classic beginning Saturday morning against Tiffin.

GAME 1

Tusculum 5, Emmanuel 1

Tusculum used a pair of multi-run innings and the shutdown pitching of Emily Sappington to open the day in Georgia.

All was quiet until the Pioneers broke through in the third inning. Alexis Grampp was stationed on first after a walk. Kiley Longmire stepped into the batter’s box with two outs and launched a double to left field, scoring Grampp. With Longmire advancing to third on the throw, Claire Smeltzer was able to reach on an error by the Emmanuel shortstop, buying Longmire enough time to cross home plate.

The Lions got one run back in the bottom half of the inning via a RBI double.

Tusculum struck quickly in the fourth. Chloe Freischmidt drew a walk and was driven in by a Claire Crout triple. Two batters later, Mya Maddox caused chaos on the base path. A slap-hit led to a fielder’s choice in which a throwing error ensued. Maddox wound up on third, while Crout scored the fourth run of the contest. Grampp singled to center field, plating Maddox as the final tally of game one.

Sappington went the distance, allowing six hits and three walks. The lefty struck out five batters to garner her first collegiate win.

GAME 2

Tusculum 8, Emmanuel 2

Tusculum scored early and often in the error-heavy nightcap. The lone extra base hit for the Pioneers was throttled off of Grampp’s bat and over the center field wall.

Longmire led off the second inning by reaching on an error by the Emmanuel shortstop. A Smeltzer single moved her up 60 feet. Sappington singled to score Longmire unearned. Freischmidt was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Hannah Hughes. The junior also reached on a miscue by the Lions’ shortstop, allowing Smeltzer to race home. Maddox grounded out to third and Sappington scored.

Tusculum’s lead was stretched to four after the top of the third inning. Anna Alloway singled, followed by an error by the infield that allowed Longmire to reach first. Alloway advanced to third on the play and Sappington groundout moved Longmire to second. A passed ball gave Alloway enough time to score.

Emmanuel found its way into the scoring column with a RBI double in the third and a run-scoring single in the fourth.

To start the fifth, Grampp walked, Longmire was plunked by an errant pitch, and Smeltzer grounded out to put the runners in scoring position. Sappington reached on an error by Emmanuel, which allowed enough time for the pair to clear the base path.

The sixth inning featured Grampp’s home run, driving in Madison Michael. Michael entered the game in a pinch hitting role and was promptly thumped by a pitch.

Savannah Foster got the start and worked three innings. She relented an earned run, a walk, two hits, and struck out one. Keylon Reynolds picked up her first collegiate win via four frames in relief. The freshman gave up one unearned run, one hit, and a pair of free-passes, but is credited with four strikeouts.

WOMEN’S TENNIS Pioneers Roll

Tusculum University did not lose a set as the 23rd-ranked Pioneers defeated Milligan University 7-0 in non-conference women’s tennis action Wednesday afternoon at the Nichols Tennis Complex.

The Pioneers (1-1) opened the match with three doubles victories, as Annie McCullough and Caitlin McCullough downed Kaitlin Barrett and Macy Kennedy 6-2 at flight one and Emilie Hansen teamed with Amber Lackey for a 6-3 win over Kylie Enarson and Karson Light at flight two. At flight three, Paulina Loretz and Valentina Loretz beat Marlaina Peterson and Hannah Nelson by a 6-1 score.

In singles, Annie McCullough delivered her 93rd career singles win with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Barrett at flight one, while Caitlin McCullough dispatched of Enarson 6-2, 6-2 at flight two. Hansen was a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Kennedy at flight three, and Rory Church downed Light 6-4, 6-2 at flight four. Javiera Ortiz won 6-1, 6-3 over Peterson at flight five, and Valentina Loretz bested Rachel Dove 6-1, 6-2 at flight six.

The Pioneers will travel to Georgia for a pair of matches on Saturday, playing at North Georgia in the morning and at Young Harris in the afternoon.