LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland scored four runs in the ninth but it was too little, too late, as the Phoenix committed five errors and the University of Pikeville’s Jay Vincent posted four hits with two doubles in the Bears’ 10-7 victory Friday in Pikeville, Ky.
The two teams finish the series Saturday with an 11 a.m. CT doubleheader, the first Mid-South Conference series of the year for both clubs.
Pikeville got a single run in the first and two more in the second before Cumberland answered with a run in the third and two more in the fourth to even the contest at three. The Bears came back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and blew the game open with five runs in the sixth with the help of three hits, two walks and two hit batters.
Vincent drove in a run with a single in the sixth and Luke Hartlage plated the final two of the inning with a single up the middle. CU used four pitchers to get three outs in the frame.
The Phoenix made things interesting in the ninth when Bo Saunders reached on an error and Eddie McDaniels and Jose Vera both singled, loading the bases. Jared Schmidt singled to leftcenter, driving in two runs, but the last of many mental errors in the game for Cumberland cost Schmidt, as he was thrown out trying to stretch the base hit to a double.
Pablo Custodio singled home a run and Bentley Jones followed with a double. Pinch-hitter Kyle Blackwell pushed a run home with a groundout before a game-ending groundout by pinch-hitter Austin Forest.
Pikeville starter Bruce Bell (2-2) allowed three runs on six hits in eight innings of work, walking three and striking out 10. He also hit two batters and tossed three wild pitches, two of which scored runs for the Phoenix.
Cumberland starter Thomas Galart (2-3) gave up seven runs, three earned, on eight hits in 5.1 innings, as CU committed four errors in the first two innings. The righthander walked one and struck out five in the loss.
Vera collected three hits, Custodio recorded two hits and scored twice while McDaniels and Jones each posted two hits. Cumberland netted five of their 11 hits in the contest in the final inning.
Tyler Menrath tallied two hits and scored two runs for the Bears and :uke Lubinicki and Hartlage added two hits apiece for UPike.
The Bears struck first with a one-out single to center by Menrath and Lubinicki followed with a single down the rightfield line, putting runners on the corners. Lubinicki went to second on a pitch in the dirt and on the throw to second, Menrath scampered home for a 1-0 UPike edge.
Dillon O’Grady singled up the middle to leadoff the second inning for Pikeville and Kase Mattingly reached on an error. Hartlage’s sacrifice bunt pushed the runners to second and third and a ground ball to short by Pastor Sanchez plated a run and he reached on the second error of the inning.
Sanchez stole second but no one was covering, allowing Mattingly to come across when the throw sailed into centerfield, the third error of the inning for the Phoenix, giving the Bears a 3-0 lead.
Cumberland got a run back in the third when Peyton Wheatley was hit to start the inning and moved to second on a groundout by Bo Saunders. McDaniels legged out an infield single up the middle and Vera’s grounder up the middle plated a run when the throw to first for a possible doubleplay was high.
Custodio and Jones both singled to leadoff the fourth for CU and a groundout from Jacob Herrera moved the runners to second and third. Custodio and pinch-runner Quinton Jabeth both scored on wild pitches, evening the game at three.
The tie was short-lived, with the Bears answering with two runs in the bottom of the inning, starting with one-out singles from Hartlage and Sanchez. With two outs Reid Bass dropped a deep fly ball in rightfield, allowing both runners to come across for a 5-3 UPike advantage.
The home team added to the lead in the sixth when Alvarado walked with one out and Menrath’s soft single down the rightfield line put runners on the corners. CU reliever Blake Young hit Lubinicki and Vincent followed with an RBI single to right. Lubinicki rounded second a little too aggressively and Jones threw behind him for an out, but Menrath scored just ahead of the throw back to the plate for a 7-3 Bears lead.
The home team was not done in the inning, though, with Anthony Houk hit by the pitch and O’Grady and Mattingly drawing walks, forcing in a run. Hartlage singled up the middle, plating two more runs, stretching the lead to 10-3, ending the inning after four CU pitchers and 10 batters.