Bulldogs squeak out 6-4 triumph
JOLIET, Ill. – Cumberland erased a four-run first-inning deficit and Dave Weyer and Greg Appleton drove in runs in the 10th inning, as the second-ranked Bulldogs remained undefeated with a 6-4 victory over 21st-ranked Campbellsville University Wednesday afternoon here at Silver Cross Field in the NAIA Championship Opening Round.
The Bulldogs (52-9) will play again Thursday at 7 p.m. against the winner of a game earlier in the day between Campbellsville and a yet-to-be-determined opponent. Cumberland needs one more victory to return to the NAIA World Series for the first time in three seasons.
CU starter Shawn Schaefer (13-0) allowed four runs on six hits in the first inning, but his Bulldogs tied the game with a run in the second and three more in the third. Schaefer settled down after the first, facing just three batters over the minimum until allowing two singles in the 10th inning.
The lefthander gave up 12 hits, walked one and struck out six, tying the school single-season victories record in the process.
Cumberland had several chances after tying the game at four, but stranded a pair of runners in the fifth and seventh innings and bounced into an inning-ending doubleplay in the fourth. The Bulldogs finally broke through in the 10th, starting with a one-out single from David Fanshawe, his third hit of the contest.
Max Kautz, who was 4-for-5 in the game, beat out a chopper between the mound and third base, but pinch-hitter Jesse Bowman lined out to rightfield on a great sliding catch by Campbellsville’s Logan Smith.
But Weyer, an Oak Lawn, Ill., product, singled sharply up the middle. Second baseman Luke Gadow gloved the ball, but it bounced into short centerfield, allowing pinch-runner Jason Frost to score from second. Appleton followed with a single to center, scoring Kautz for a 6-4 advantage.
Brian Chase and Smith both singled with two outs in the 10th for the Tigers (41-21), but Richie Rowland, who homered and singled earlier in the contest, bounced out to first to end the game.
Campbellsville starter Jared Lunardi (7-3) tossed 160 pitches and kept his club in the game until the Bulldogs finally broke through in the 10th. The lefthander allowed six runs on 14 hits in 9.2 innings, walking five and striking out six.
The Tigers got off to a quick start, plating four runs in the first inning on six hits.
Alex Ponich led off with a single and Michael Caleb sacrificed him to second. Chase then hit a slow roller down the third base line and Matt Greener’s throw Appleton and bounced away, allowing Ponich to score.
Rowland ripped a line drive down the rightfield line for his 11th home run of the season. Gadow, Zac Townsend and Colin Bryan all followed with singles, the last an RBI looper into leftcenter for a 4-0 Campbellsville advantage after an inning.
The Bulldogs got a run back in the second when Troy Frazier walked to leadoff. He moved to second on a wild pitch, went to third on Fanshawe’s groundout and scored on Kautz’s sharp single to center.
CU tied the contest with three more runs in the third, starting with a two-out single from Kris Miller. Frazier walked again after fouling off three pitches and Fanshawe battled through an eight-pitch at-bat before lacing a hanging breaking ball off the leftfield wall, plating two runs. Kautz followed with a line drive over the centerfielder’s head for an RBI triple, tying the contest at four.
Weyer walked and Appleton singled to leadoff the fourth for CU, but Sam Kikla popped out and Greener grounded into a doubleplay to end the threat.
In the fifth Fanshawe and Kautz both singled with two outs, but T.J. Murphy grounded out to end the inning. Miller singled with one out in the seventh and Fanshawe walked two batters later, but Kautz bounced out to end that inning as well.
Campbellsville threatened in the fifth, with Caleb singling with one out and Smith drawing a two-out walk, but Chase and Rowland both flied out to end the inning.
- This was the third meeting this season between Cumberland and Campbellsville. The two teams split the first two matchups with the home team claiming a victory in both games.
- Today’s contest was the third extra-innings game for the Bulldogs this year. Cumberland has won all three games, defeating St. Catharine College, 5-3, in 10 innings on March 2 and Milligan College, 5-4, in 12 innings.
- The four-run first inning by Campbellsville was the first time since April 10 that the Bulldogs have allowed more than one run in the opening frame and the most since giving up six against Oklahoma Baptist on March 10. CU is now 3-2 when allowing at least three runs in the first inning.
- Max Kautz’s triple in the third inning was the fourth of the year for the Palo Alto, Calif., native and the sixth of his career, moving him into a tie for seventh on Cumberland’s all-time list.
- The Bulldogs had four singles in the 10th inning, which saw the most Cumberland hits in the game. CU had three hits in the third.
- Cumberland turned a double play in the bottom of the third inning, marking the fourth time in three games that the Bulldogs have had a twin killing. It is the third time this year that CU has had three consecutive games with a double play and the first since going four straight games with one from April 23-30.
- In six of the 10 innings, Cumberland’s first two batters were retired in order, but the Bulldogs had eight two-out hits in the contest. CU is batting .349 as a team with two outs.