LEBANON, Tenn. – Mike Mandarino, Tommy Crews and Cory Farris each homered and Daniel Kern tossed six innings to earn a victory, as No. 1 Cumberland used three big innings to post an 11-5 victory over Shawnee State on Wednesday at Ernest L. Stockton Field.
Mandarino hit a two-run homer and Crews and Farris each belted solo shots to lead an 11-hit attach for the Bulldogs, who scored double-digit runs for the second straight day after doing so just once in the first 23 games of the year.
Crews finished 3-for-5 with a double, homer and two runs scored, while Farris went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and three runs scored. Greg Appleton also collected two hits for CU.
Kern (2-0) allowed four runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out two in six innings, a career-long effort for the righthander. He was named the Music City Star of the Game for his efforts. Christian Jennings, Matt Vance and Matt McFarland got the final nine outs for the Bulldogs (17-8).
Shawnee State (14-13) committed six errors in the game and stranded 10 baserunners, giving Cumberland extra outs that turned into runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings. Will Middleton (0-1), the third of seven SSU hurlers, took the loss, giving up five runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Kendal Coleman, Colin Keim and Camden Sauls each recorded a pair of hits for the Bears.
Shawnee scored three times in the fourth to take the early lead, starting with a walk to Phillip Butler and a single from Cody Morrison. Danny Gesick plated a run with a double to rightcenter and another came across on a single by Keim. Zac Alexander’s sacrifice fly put the visitors ahead, 3-0.
But the Bulldogs answered with five runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
Tommy Winegardner beat out an infield single to leadoff and Mandarino followed with a bomb to leftfield, a two-run homer, his sixth of the season. Crews singled to right and Farris doubled to deep leftcenter.
Back-to-back sacrifice flies from David Fanshawe and Richie Seaton plated both runners, but CU was not done. T.J. Murphy drew a walk and moved to second after a pickoff throw got away from the first baseman. Antonio Butler’s single to short center plated Murphy for a 5-3 Cumberland advantage.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fifth, the first on a solo homer to rightcenter by Crews, his second round-tripper in two days. Farris then walked, stole second, moved to third on a grounder and scored when Gesick dropped a pickoff throw to first base.
Shawnee added a run in the sixth with good work from the bottom of the lineup. Gesick was hit to leadoff the inning but then Kern got a lineout and a groundout before consecutive singles from Jordan Maier and Sauls plated a run, making it 7-4 CU
The Bears could have had more, but Butler made a terrific diving catch in rightcenter to rob Ryan Burnett and end the inning.
SSU scored again in the seventh after Coleman dumped a single just over the third baseman’s head. He took off for second and Jennings’ pickoff throw was wild, allowing the runner to reach third. He scored on a single to left from Butler, cutting the Bulldog lead to 7-5.
But Farris’ towering home run just inside the rightfield foul pole to leadoff the bottom of the inning pushed the lead back to three. Fanshawe and Seaton both walked and Murphy put down a sacrifice bunt, but Caleb Sollars’ throw to first was wild, allowing both runners to score and Murphy to advance all the way to third. Winegardner’s sacrifice fly plated Murphy for an 11-5 advantage.
Cumberland begins a three-game series at Blue Mountain College on Friday with a single game at 6 p.m. The series concludes with a doubleheader Saturday starting at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs return home next week to face Embry-Riddle on Monday at 2:30 p.m. and again Tuesday at 1 p.m. before taking on Campbellsville University at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Veterans Field in Lebanon.