Bulldogs sweep FHU, 4-1 and 5-1
LEBANON, Tenn. – Aaron Wilkerson allowed just four hits in a complete game and Max Kautz collected five hits and scored three runs in second-ranked Cumberland’s doubleheader sweep of Freed-Hardeman, 4-1 and 5-1, Saturday at Ernest L. Stockton Field.
Cumberland (37-8, 10-2 TranSouth) continued to lead the conference standings with the sweep of the Lions (28-15, 6-6). Union University is just one game behind the Bulldogs in the league standings, though CU won 2-of-3 from Union in the first TranSouth series of the season.
The Bulldogs won their seventh and eighth straight contests and swept a series for the second straight weekend on a pitcher’s day at the ballpark, as the wind was blowing straight in and knocked down several balls that would have been home runs over the past month.
Wilkerson (7-1) allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out four in his seventh complete game of the year in the opener. He worked out of a jam in the fourth inning and gave up a solo homer in the sixth to earn his seventh straight victory.
FHU starter Gage Franklin (4-2) kept the Bulldogs off-balance, but CU scored just enough to win. The lefthander allowed four runs on nine hits with one strikeout.
Kautz singled twice and scored two runs in the opener while Greg Appleton had an RBI double in the fifth and later scored on a Troy Frazier sacrifice fly that gave the Bulldogs some breathing room.
In the second contest both teams scored a run in the first but Frazier’s sac fly in the third plated Appleton again for what was eventually the winning run. Kautz plated a run in the fourth and then singled and scored in a two-run sixth for the Bulldogs.
CU starter Robert Post (5-2) allowed just one run in the first after the Lions loaded the bases with no one out, and the righthander cruised through the next three innings before FHU loaded the bases again with nobody out in the fifth.
Adam Sprague induced a doubleplay and a ground ball to get out of the fifth with Freed-Hardeman scoring and then tossed the final two innings for his first save of the year.
FHU starter Derek Williford (0-1) gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings with one walk and one strikeout to take the loss.
Cumberland registered 19 hits in the doubleheader but stranded 11 baserunners against a steady diet of lefthanders for the Lions.
The Bulldogs plated a single run in the third inning of the opener to take an early lead but missed a chance for more.
Kautz led off with an infield single and Dave Weyer singled to left with one out. Appleton grounded back to the pitcher, but the FHU middle infielders knocked each other over and were unable to complete the doubleplay.
CU took advantage, with Sam Kikla’s infield single on the leftside plating Kautz. Frazier followed with a single to left, loading the bases, but Kris Miller flied out to deep right to end the inning.
The Lions looked to tie the contest in the fourth, with Leamond Arthur and Noslen Labrada both singling to start the inning, but Wilkerson stiffened, getting a strikeout of Brian Bullard, a popout from Evan Mansell and a flyout by Garrett Ammons to end the threat.
Cumberland added two more runs in the fifth, taking advantage of a lackadaisical play in the infield by FHU.
Weyer doubled with one out in the inning, a ball dumped down the leftfield line off the glove of Labrada. Appleton followed with a double off the base of the centerfield wall, plating Weyer.
Kikla then grounded to Robert Prieto at short and Appleton took off for third. Prieto tried to get Appleton at third but surprised Mansell and Appleton slid in under the throw. Frazier’s fly ball to right plated Appleton for a 3-0 Bulldog lead.
The two runs were even bigger in the next half inning, as Labrada belted a solo homer to leftcenter, his second of the series and 10th of the season.
CU manufactured a run in the bottom of the inning, starting with a two-out single from Kautz, who stole second and scored on a bloop single from Bowman for a 4-1 advantage.
The Lions started fast in the second contest, with Prieto dumping a single into short rightcenter and Arthur following with a double down the rightfield line. Labrada walked, loading the bases, and Mansell walked two batters later, forcing in a run. But Derek Bush bounced into a 6-4-3 doubleplay to end the inning with just one run crossing.
Cumberland quickly tied the game, with Appleton doubling down the rightfield line to start the bottom of the inning and Kikla following with an RBI single.
The Bulldogs took the lead in the third after a one-out single from Appleton. Kikla blooped a single into short rightcenter and both runners moved up a base after a nasty collision between second baseman John Reynolds and rightfielder Zack Smith. Reynolds left the game but Smith stayed at his position.
Frazier’s fly ball to rightcenter plated Appleton for a 2-1 CU advantage.
Cumberland added to the lead in the fourth after a leadoff single from Greener off the glove of Mansell at third. David Fanshawe grounded out to third, but the slow-roller allowed Greener to move to second. Kautz then singled up the middle, plating Greener.
The Bulldogs got out of a major jam in the fifth, with the Lions loading the bases on a single from Mark Kelley, a walk to Prieto and a single from Arthur, chasing Post from the game.
Sprague induced a ground ball to third from Labrada that took Greener toward the bag. He stepped on the bag and threw home where Fanshawe tagged out Kelley. Bullard grounded out to Greener to end the inning with the Bulldogs still holding a 3-1 edge.
Cumberland added two insurance runs in the sixth, starting with a leadoff double down the leftfield line from Greener. Kautz singled off the pitcher’s glove and pinch-runner Ryan Critchelow scored on single to center from pinch-hitter Brian Karahalios.
Kautz moved to third on the single and scored on a wild pitch for a 5-1 CU lead.
Cumberland is off this week and heads to Pulaski for a three-game series next weekend against Martin Methodist starting Friday at 6 p.m.