BOCA RATON, Fla.—Lynn University plated 12 runs in the fourth inning and held a 16-1 lead after the sixth, but Tusculum’s rally for the ages came up short as the Fighting Knights won 16-13 Sunday afternoon.
Both teams combined for 29 runs on 27 hits including eight home runs with four of them being grand slams. Two of those grand slams came from Lynn’s Joseph Encarnacion in consecutive at-bats as he finished the game with three hits and eight RBI.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, the Knights (2-0-1) sent 15 batters to the plate, scoring 12 times on eight hits including four home runs with two of those round-trippers coming with the bases loaded.
Tusculum (0-2) dented the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning with an unearned run, but Lynn answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame on the Knights third grand slam of the day, a bases-clearing shot off the bat of Encarnacion.
The Pioneers would chip away at the deficit, scoring four times in the seventh inning, as Daulton Martin led off with his first home run of the year. Later in the inning, pinch-hitter Daalen Adderley belted a two-out, three-run double to left field to trim the Lynn lead to 16-5.
In the top of the eighth, Jordan Beaver and Wes Reynolds drew walks and Jake Wapinsky was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Luis Ezra stepped up and blasted a grand slam over the right field fence to cut the Lynn lead to 16-9. Jaden Steagall posted his third hit of the game as he legged out an infield single. Sam Loew walked and Adderley posted a single to load the bases. With two outs, Jordan Beaver came through with a RBI single to bring in Steagall as TU trailed 16-10.
With one out in the top of the ninth inning, Reynolds reached on a single and Ezra followed with a walk. Steagall came up and hit a three-run homer to bring Tusculum to within three runs at 16-13. Pitcher Connor Davis retired Loew for the second out. But the Pioneers would not quit as Adderley drew a walk and Alvaro Valdez was hit by a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate.
Lynn brought in Jake Buxbaum and he got the final out on a ground ball by Beaver as the Knights survived the Tusculum rally.
Steagall went a perfect 4-for-4 in the game, scoring four times and drew a pair of walks. Ezra went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two walks, Adderley had two hits and three RBI while Chase Wullenweber posted two hits including a double.
Lynn starting pitcher Misael Castillo (1-0) was credited with the victory, while TU starter Grant Crosby suffered the loss. Buxbaum picked up the save for the Knights.
Tusculum relief pitcher Jacob Willett tossed two shutout innings as he allowed one hit and posted a strikeout for the Pioneers.
Tusculum will make the short drive back to West Palm Beach to complete Friday’s suspended game at Palm Beach Atlantic. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. Play will resume in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Sailfish ahead 4-0.