LEBANON, Tenn. – Freshman Richie Seaton homered in both ends of the doubleheader and Will Locante and Keith Kirby combined to give up just one run on nine hits in 10th-ranked Cumberland’s doubleheader sweep, 10-1 and 4-0, Sunday at Ernest L. Stockton Field.
Cumberland (35-12, 14-4) swept the series and moved into a first-place tie atop the TranSouth Conference with Union University and Trevecca Nazarene with six games remaining on the league schedule. The Bulldogs play at Lyon College next weekend and finish the season at home versus Mid-Continent on April 28-29.
Cumberland used the long-ball in Sunday’s sweep, hitting seven home runs that accounted for 12 of the team’s 14 runs. Seaton homered in both games, hitting a two-run shot in the opener that started a six-run second inning. The Scarborough, Ontario, native hit a solo shot in the fifth inning of the second game, giving CU a 2-0 edge.
Locante was dominant again on the mound in the opener, striking out 10 and allowing one run on five hits. The lefthander walked two and tossed just 96 pitches in his sixth complete game of the year. He retired the first seven batters of the game and 7-of-8 in the middle innings, posting his fifth double-digit strikeout performance of the year, all in seven-inning contests. He was named the Music City Star of the Game for his efforts.
Cumberland gave Locante (5-2) all the support he would need with six runs in the second inning, highlighted by RBI doubles from Greg Appleton and Tommy Winegardner and two-run homers by Seaton and Mike Mandarino. David Fanshawe added a three-run shot in the fifth and Winegardner hit a solo home run in the sixth.
The Bulldogs managed just seven hits in the contest but took advantage of four walks and two more errors by the RedHawks (22-19, 14-7), who committed five miscues in the series.
Kirby (3-2) carved up the visitors in the second game, giving up only four hits while walking three and striking out three. He used the change-up and curveball to get eight ground ball outs and nine fly balls, most of them lazy pop flies.
Kirby and MMC starter Travis Garcia were locked in a scoreless tie until the fifth inning when Tommy Crews connected for his eighth home run of the season just to the right of the batter’s eye. Seaton belted his solo shot two batters later, a low and inside pitch and that sailed well over the wall in rightfield.
T.J. Murphy doubled to leadoff the sixth for CU and after a nine-pitch at-bat, Cory Farris drilled a hanging breaking ball over Spring Street for a two-run shot, giving the Bulldogs some insurance and the sweep of the series.
Garcia (6-2) gave up only three hits and three baserunners through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth and sixth. The Bulldogs managed four runs on six hits in the two innings. The righthander walked one and struck out five.
Steven Dodson (6-3) suffered the loss for the RedHawks in the opener, lasting just 2.1 innings and allowing six runs on five hits with three walks.
The Bulldogs put up a six-run second inning in the opener to take an early lead.
Fanshawe drew a one-out walk and Seaton followed with his first career home run, a two-run shot over the wall in rightcenter. Antonio Butler then walked before Appleton’s RBI double to rightcenter.
Winegardner’s two-out double to leftcenter plated Appleton and Mandarino followed with a high drive over the wall in leftfield, his 12th homer of the year, giving CU a 6-0 advantage.
Cumberland took advantage of a RedHawks miscue to score three times in the fifth.
Farris walked with one out and Crews’ grounder was booted by Justin McQueen at second base. Fanshawe made the visitors pay, drilling a 2-0 pitch over the wall in rightcenter for his sixth home run of the year and a 9-0 Bulldog lead.
The RedHawks got on the board in the sixth after a leadoff single from Drew Donnelly. He went to second on a balk and scored on Holden Killen’s two-out single to rightcenter.
Winegardner’s solo homer to rightcenter in the sixth inning was the final run for the Bulldogs.
In the second contest Donnelly singled to leadoff the game and Killen walked with two outs, but Cody Pomeroy grounded out to end the threat. Donnelly and Tony Allen both singled in the third, but Killen lined out to end the inning. Allen walked and stole second to start the sixth, but was stranded at third after a pair of ground ball outs in the only real threats for the RedHawks against Kirby.
Cumberland plays at No. 1 Lee University on Tuesday before heading to Batesville, Ark., for a three-game series Friday and Saturday.