Bulldogs outlast Lambuth, 12-10
LEBANON, Tenn. – Matt Greener hit a pair of home runs and collected three hits and six other Bulldogs registered a pair of hits in a 17-hit attack, as fourth-ranked Cumberland outlasted Lambuth Univ., 12-10, Wednesday afternoon at Ernest L. Stockton Field.
Cumberland (26-6) hit four home runs in the contest, solo shots from Greener and Max Kautz, a two-run shot from Greg Appleton and a three-run homer by Greener. The Bulldogs erased two early deficits, then watched the Eagles (26-8) tie the game twice more before Greener’s solo home run to leadoff the seventh put CU ahead for good.
Cumberland scored six runs on seven hits in the second inning with an RBI single from T.J. Murphy and a sacrifice fly by Kris Miller before Greener’s three-run homer to right capped the inning.
Matt Vance (4-1), the third of four CU hurlers, picked up the victory with 1.2 shutout innings with one strikeout. Daniel Kern allowed a run on two hits in the ninth but got a lineout from Brent Young with the tying run at first base for his fifth save of the year.
Murphy, Appleton, Sam Kikla, Brian Karahalios, David Fanshawe and Max Kautz all collected two hits apiece for the Bulldogs, while Murphy, Kikla, Greener, Appleton and Kautz all scored twice.
Lambuth starter Zachary Hurdt (0-3) took the loss, giving up 10 runs, five earned, on 13 hits in six-plus innings of work. The Eagles collected 14 hits in the contest, three from Mitch McClay and two each by Mitch Thomson, Matt Wood and Young.
Lambuth got on the board with a run in the first, albeit after a strange call at second base.
McClay drew a one-out walk and Bart White followed with a sharp grounder to third. Greener made a terrific diving play to his right, made the throw to second and Murphy completed the doubleplay, or so everyone thought.
The base umpire called McClay safe on the play, saying Murphy came across the bag before the ball reached the second baseman. The Eagles took advantage, with Young doubling high off the batter’s eye in dead center, driving home McClay.
Cumberland tied the game in the bottom of the inning after a leadoff single from Murphy. He took off for second and Kikla placed a double just inside the third base bag. Murphy scored easily on the play, knotting the game at one.
Lambuth came back with two more runs in the second, starting with a one-out walk to William Wakefield. Wood beat out an infield single with two outs and Thomson walked to load the bases. McClay then bounced a single through the leftside, playing a pair of runners for a 3-1 Eagles advantage.
Cumberland plated six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Appleton and Kautz both singled with one out before an RBI single from Murphy. Kikla then hit a high pop down the rightfield line that the wind blew back into fair territory. Kautz scored on the play and Troy Frazier followed with a single off the end of the bat to load the bases.
Kris Miller plated a run with a sacrifice fly before Greener belted a three-run homer to right, his 13th of the year, for a 7-3 Bulldog lead.
Lambuth cut into the deficit with three more runs in the third. Young started the inning with a single and Mike Nitsos walked. Matthew Bird delivered the big blow, a three-run home run to rightcenter, just his third of the year, cutting the Bulldog lead to 7-6.
The Eagles tied the game in the fifth after Lee Kimbell was hit and Wakefield and Bird both walked, loading the bases and prompting a pitching change for the Bulldogs. Reliever Keith Kirby struck out Wood but Thomson fisted a little bloop that landed about halfway down the first base line. Kirby slid the catch the ball but missed it and then touched it in fair territory, allowing the runner to score and tie the contest.
But the Bulldogs responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead. Fanshawe singled with two outs before Appleton hit a two-run homer to rightcenter, his seventh of the season, giving CU a 9-7 advantage.
Lambuth tied the game again with two runs in the seventh, loading the bases with singles from Wakefield, Wood and Thomson. McClay drove in both runs with a single to left, but Vance came on to get a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning without any further damage.
Greener led off the bottom of the inning with his second homer of the game, drilling a hanging curveball from Hurdt over the wall in leftcenter and chasing the righthander from the contest.
Kautz added a bit of insurance for the Bulldogs with a solo homer to leadoff the eighth for an 11-9 CU lead. Kikla later walked, stole second and scored on a pair of wild pitches.
Kern got the save for the Bulldogs, but not before running into all sorts of trouble.
Thomson walked with two outs before singles from McClay and White plated a run. Young then lined out to right to end the contest, Cumberland’s 17th at home this season with just two defeats.
The Bulldogs host 13th-ranked Bethel University in a three-game series this weekend at Ernest L. Stockton Field starting Friday with a single game at 2 p.m.