LEBANON, Tenn. – Timothy Cusick’s pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth tied the game and Eli Roundtree’s RBI single plated the winning run, as ninth-ranked Missouri Baptist erased a three-run deficit to defeat No. 1 Cumberland, 5-3, in 10 innings on Friday here at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium.
The Bulldogs (0-5) led 3-0 headed to the ninth behind an outstanding pitching effort from Jake Collier, but Roundtree led off the inning with a triple and scored on a groundout. After a walk Cusick belted the first pitch well over the wall in rightfield, tying the contest at three.
Jeff Smith drew a four-pitch walk to start the 10th inning for the Spartans (7-0) and went to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on Brent Zimmerman’s sacrifice bunt and after an intentional walk to Orlando Oliveira, Smith came across on Eli Roundtree’s sharp single to right. Pinch-runner Tyler Greminger scored on a groundout by Aaron Pangilian for a 5-3 MBU advantage.
Collier threw a gem through eight innings before running into trouble in the ninth. The righthander allowed three runs on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts. He got 12 ground ball outs and induced a pair of doubleplays. Andrew Woodfin (0-1) took the loss for the Bulldogs, giving up two runs on one hit with two walks.
MBU reliever Austin Sweet (1-0) picked up the win, tossing 3.1 scoreless innings. The big righthander gave up just one hit, hit two batters and struck out two, running into trouble just once. Spartans starter David Mullins allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings and Marcus Crescentini struck out the side for his third save.
Justin Byrd, Hector Viera, Tyler Alford and Orlando Collado each collected two hits for the Bulldogs, but CU stranded 14 baserunners in the game, including the bases loaded in the fifth, sixth and ninth innings.
Cumberland took the lead in the first when Byrd led off with a bunt single and took second on a wild pitch. He scored on Viera’s double just inside the third base bag.
Collier worked out of trouble in the third after a two-out single to left by Aaron Collazo and then a double to rightcenter from Smith, but third baseman Ryan Simmons made a nice play to his left on a ground ball by Zimmerman, ending the threat.
Cumberland added another run in the bottom of the inning, with Orlando Collado leading off with a single to center. With two outs he stole second and scored on a short single to rightcenter from Phil Stiles for a 2-0 edge.
The Bulldogs got another run in the sixth but missed a chance to break open the game.
Tyler Alford doubled to rightcenter with one out and Collado reached on an infield single before Byrd ripped a line drive to right that was snared by Roundtree. Viera walked, loading the bases, and pinch-runner Zach Cole scored on a passed ball. Stiles also walked, but Ryan Dickison grounded out to end the inning.
Collier walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh but induced a 4-6-3 doubleplay from Brian Poupore, but another walk and an error gave the Spartans a second chance in the inning before an inning-ending strikeout by Collazo ended the threat.
Roundtree led off the top of the ninth with a triple to leftcenter and scored on a groundout by Pangalian. Poupore followed with a walk before Cusick’s home run tied the contest.
Cumberland had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the inning, with Viera leading off with a single through the left side, but he was picked off by Sweet. Stiles then reached on an error and Dickison and Conor Dishman were both hit, loading the bases with one out.
Sweet fell behind Richard Carter 3-and-1 but battled back, getting to a full count. Carter fouled off three more pitches before striking out looking. Simmons grounded out to end the threat, sending contest to extra innings.
Cumberland and Missouri Baptist play a doubleheader Saturday starting at Noon.