PADUCAH, Ky. – Jesse Bowman posted career-highs with four hits and six RBIs, Tommy Crews collected his third four-hit game of the tournament and freshman Devin Stovall worked into the seventh inning for the win in fifth-ranked Cumberland’s 19-10 victory over Tennessee Wesleyan in the 2011 McDonald’s NAIA Championship Opening Round here at Brooks Stadium.
With the victory the Bulldogs force a second game Sunday between the two teams, with the winner advancing to the 55th Annual Avista-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
Cumberland scored eight runs in the first three innings and never looked back. The Bulldogs pounded out 17 hits in the contest, including four each by Bowman and Crews as well as three from Mike Mandarino. Crews also had four RBIs while Mandarino scored four times and T.J. Murphy scored three runs. Bowman was named the Music City Star of the Game for his efforts.
Stovall (3-1) tossed a career-best 6.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on 11 hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. The Bulldogs made three errors behind the righthander, but he minimized the damage and took advantage of the ample run support.
TWC starter Ben Crocker (6-3) lasted into the third inning, giving up seven runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He also hit two batters. Ronald Phelps and Will Ickes allowed 12 runs on 13 hits in 4.2 innings of relief as well.
Rafael Carlot led Wesleyan with four hits while David Bergin hit a pair of home runs and drove in four runs. Sam Munson also added three hits for TWC.
The Bulldogs took an early lead with three runs in the second inning, thanks to two-out walks to David Fanshawe and Cory Farris. Bowman doubled home a run and another came across on a passed ball before Antonio Butler’s infield single plated the final run of the frame.
Cumberland added five more runs in the third inning, taking advantage of more wildness from Crocker and ending the righthander’s day.
Murphy drew a leadoff walk and Mandarino was hit with one out before Crews blooped an RBI single down the rightfield line. Fanshawe then doubled into the leftfield corner, plating two runs, and Farris reached on an error by second baseman Cody Gaskill. Bowman followed with a two-run double into leftcenter, giving the Bulldogs an 8-0 edge.
Wesleyan got one run back in the bottom of the inning, also taking advantage of free passes.
Ryan Santos and Stephan Branca both walked with one out before an RBI single from Jonny Smith, but Stovall settled down, getting a popout and a strikeout to end the inning without any further damage.
CU answered with two runs in the fourth, starting with a one-out single by Tommy Winegardner. Mandarino followed with an RBI double and Crews singled sharply off the glove of a diving Branca at shortstop into shallow center, scoring Mandarino for a 10-1 Bulldog advantage.
But TWC came back with two more runs in the bottom of the inning, as Carlot and Munson both singled to start the frame. Stovall got two outs but walked Santos for the second time in the contest and Branca made the free pass hurt with a two-run double to leftfield, cutting the deficit back to seven.
Greg Appleton reached on a throwing error by Boix to leadoff the sixth inning, starting a four-run rally for the Bulldogs. Murphy singled and both runners moved up when the throw got away coming back to the infield. Winegardner’s sacrifice fly plated a run, as did a single from Mandarino.
Crews then singled down the rightfield line and Fanshawe walked before a two-out, two-run single from Bowman put Cumberland ahead, 14-3.
But TWC responded with four runs of its own in the bottom of the inning and it also started with an error, this one by Crews. Branca singled with one out and Smith singled to center, plating a run. With two outs Bergin lifted a high fly ball to center that just kept carrying, over the wall for a three-run homer, his 20th of the season.
Cumberland came right back with five more runs in the seventh, starting with infield singles from Murphy and Mandarino around a walk to Winegardner. Crews singled through the middle, scoring two runs, and a single to right from Farris plated two more. Bowman’s infield single brought home another for a 19-7 advantage.
TWC plated one run in the bottom of the inning and could have had more. Jordan Guida and Boix singled to leadoff and Branca walked with one out. Guida scored on a wild pitch, but Logan Neal struck out Smith and Gaskill lined out, ending the inning.
Branca led off eighth with his second homer of the game, but TWC stranded a pair of runners later in the inning. In the ninth Branca drew a leadoff walk before two-out singles from Bergin and Carlot plated a run, but that was all for Wesleyan.