Big inning helps CU split at Union
LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland exploded for 11 runs in one inning to take the opener and nearly erased a six-run deficit in the second game, as the 19th-ranked Bulldogs split a doubleheader with Union University, winning 16-5 before falling 7-5 Saturday in the TranSouth Conference series opener for both teams at Fesmire Field in Jackson, Tenn.
Cumberland (25-6, 2-1 TranSouth) had a seven-game winning streak snapped with the loss in game two of the doubleheader, but the Bulldogs took 2-of-3 in the series against Union (21-5, 1-2), which entered the game winners in nine of its last 10 games.
Union held the lead twice in the opener and tied the game at five with a run in the bottom of the third. Cumberland’s first two batters in the fourth were retired before 11 consecutive batters reached, including three-run homers from Troy Frazier and Sam Kikla for a 16-5 CU victory in five innings.
T.J. Murphy, Kikla and Matt Greener all had three hits in the opener, while Kikla, Frazier and Kris Miller all hit three-run homers.
Aaron Wilkerson (4-1) struggled through the first three innings, though with little help from the Bulldog defense, which committed three errors. The righthander weathered the storm and CU kept scoring, allowing the junior to pick up the victory. He allowed five runs, two earned, on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Jeremy Stack (1-1) took the loss for Union, giving up nine runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings with one walk and four strikeouts. CU knocked around two Union relievers for seven more runs on eight hits in 1.1 innings of work.
Union’s Josh Jones hit a three-run homer in a four-run fourth inning to put the home team ahead 6-0 in the second game. Corey Rudolph recorded three hits and drove in two runs and Clint Barnes, Danny Grimm and Kevin Kirksey all added a pair of hits for Union in the victory.
Derek Copley (5-1) limited the Bulldogs to just six hits in the second game and retired the side in order in the first, second and fourth innings and allowed just a single to David Fanshawe in the fourth. CU scored twice in the sixth and then three more times in the seventh against the righthander before Frazier struck out to end the contest.
Robert Post (2-2) took the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing six runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings. He walked one and struck out three in his first start since March 6.
Union scored a single run in the first inning of the opener. Barnes led off with a single and Grimm followed with a walk. Grimm was picked off by Fanshawe, but Rudolph doubled to deep leftfield, plating Barnes.
Beau Baker then singled and Alex Turner was hit, loading the bases, but Wilkerson struck out David Maristany and Jones flied out to end the inning without any further damage.
The Bulldogs came back with two runs in the second, starting with a one-out triple to deep right from Greener. A sacrifice fly by Brian Karahalios tied the game before Fanshawe followed with a double. Greg Appleton then singled, plating pinch-runner Dave Weyer.
Union retook the lead with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Grant Luke led off with a single and Kirksey sacrificed him to second. Barnes drew a walk before Grimm reached on an error, loading the bases. Rudolph flied out to shallow center, but another error plated a run, allowing Luke to score. Turner then singled to center, plating two runs for a 4-2 Union advantage.
The Bulldogs scored three runs of their own in the third. Murphy and Kikla both singled to leadoff and Miller hit a three-run homer to left, his 10th of the season, giving the Bulldogs the lead again.
Union tied the contest with a run in the bottom of the inning, starting with a Jones infield single. Luke sacrificed him to second and Kirksey plated the run with a double to deep left, knotting the game at five.
Cumberland exploded for 11 runs on 11 hits in the fifth, sending 14 batters to the plate to break open the tie contest. The first two batters of the inning were retired before Murphy and Kikla both singled, setting up Frazier’s three-run homer to center, his 11th of the year.
Miller and Greener followed with back-to-back doubles and Karahalios plated a run with a single to center. Fanshawe then singled and Appleton drove in both runners with a double to rightcenter.
Max Kautz singled home Appleton and Murphy had another single before Kikla belted another three-run home run, this one to left, his eighth of the season.
In the second game Union scored single runs in the first and fourth and added four runs in the third.
In the first Grimm singled with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Baker’s two-out single through the leftside.
Grimm and Rudolph both singled to start the third before a two-out RBI single from Maristany. Jones then hit a three-run homer to right for a 5-0 Union advantage.
In the fourth Barnes singled with one out, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out single from Rudolph for a 6-0 Union lead.
The Bulldogs were finally able to get to Copley in the sixth, with Kikla doubling to leadoff. He moved to third on a balk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Frazier. Greener hit a solo homer with two outs in the inning, his 12th of the season, to cut the deficit to 6-2.
Union added a big insurance run in the bottom of the inning. Kirksey singled with one out and Barnes followed with a single. Rudolph drove in a run with a single through the rightside and a 7-2 Union advantage.
Cumberland scored three times in the final inning, with Fanshawe hit to start the inning. Appleton doubled to leftcenter, putting runners on second and third, and consecutive groundouts from Kautz and Weyer plated both runners. Kikla hit a solo homer with two outs, his second of the day, but Frazier struck out to end the rally and the twinbill.
Kikla went 5-for-8 in the two games with five runs scored and four RBIs, while Greener added four hits and scored three times and Fanshawe and Appleton both collected three hits in the doubleheader.
Cumberland begins a five-game homestand Wednesday, hosting Lambuth Univ. in a single game at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs play Bethel Univ. in a three-game series next Friday and Saturday and take on Lee Univ. on April 6 in a single game at 2 p.m.