LEBANON, Tenn. – Kyle Blackwell’s three-run homer helped Cumberland erase a four-run deficit, but an untimely error to start the bottom of the ninth allowed Tennessee Wesleyan to post a 7-6 victory over the Phoenix in baseball action Tuesday afternoon in Athens, Tenn.
Cumberland (28-14) trailed 6-2 after five innings, but Blackwell’s three-run shot, his fourth of the year and first home run since February 23 versus Martin Methodist, pulled CU within a run. Jared Schmidt’s RBI single in the top of the ninth knotted the game at six.
Blackwell’s two-base error to leadoff the bottom of the ninth allowed Alfred Cruz to take second and he went to third on a bunt single by Malik Stephens. Tyler Halas’ infield single to the right side provided the walk-off victory for Wesleyan, which has won 11 of its last 12 games overall.
The error made a tough-luck loser of Blake Young (2-1), who allowed one unearned run on two hits with two strikeouts in two-plus innings of relief. Andy Garretson worked 6.0 innings in just his second start of the season, giving up six runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts.
Hector Morales and Blackwell were the only Cumberland players with multiple hits, recording two apiece. CU stranded 10 runners in the contest, including two in the fourth and fifth innings and at least one baserunner in all but the first inning.
Dailey Carnes (1-2), the last of five hurlers for TWU, picked up the win, allowing two hits but no runs with two strikeouts in one inning. Wesleyan starter Amiel Abreu gave up two runs on four hits in 4.2 innings, walking three and striking out three.
Tristan Clarke finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Halas posted two hits and scored a run to go with his walk-off RBI and Stephens added two hits for the Bulldogs.
Dakota Phillips homered to leadoff the bottom of the second inning for Wesleyan (28-17), but the Phoenix answered with two runs in the top of the third.
Peyton Wheatley walked and Jordan Hunt was hit with one out before an RBI single by Morales. Caleb Kellogg’s sacrifice fly plated Hunt for a 2-1 CU edge.
In the fourth Collin Ridout was hit and Aloysius Cruz singled before a walk to Phillips loaded the bases. Braden Mosley’s double to right scored two runs and a groundout by Chris Baetzel pushed across another, giving Wesleyan a 4-2 advantage.
TWU added two more runs in the fifth, with Halas leading off with a single and Clarke following with a two-run homer to rightcenter for a 6-2 Bulldog lead.
Cumberland cut into the deficit with three runs in the sixth, as Garretson led off with a single and Janson Neff walked. Kyle Blackwell then homered to center, making it a 6-5 contest.
Kellogg started the rally in the ninth with a walk and Mykel Gordon singled before Schmidt’s RBI single to rightcenter knotted the game at six.
Cumberland added a contest at Bethel University on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and heads to 13th-ranked University of the Cumberlands for a three-game series starting Friday.