LEBANON, Tenn. – Ryan Hill tossed six strong innings, Pablo Custodio drove in two runs and Tyler Jones collected two hits, as Cumberland built an early lead and held on for a 6-5 victory over Martin Methodist in baseball action Tuesday in Pulaski, Tenn.
The Phoenix (17-8) have won 14 of their last 15 games after a 2-7 start. Cumberland hosts seventh-ranked Georgia Gwinnett on Wednesday for a single game at 2 p.m.
Custodio’s two-run single in the first put CU ahead early and Bentley Jones made it 4-0 Phoenix with an RBI single in the fourth. Bo Saunders drove in a run with a two-out single in the fifth and a sacrifice fly from Jacob Herrera gave Cumberland a 6-1 advantage in the sixth.
Rob McMasters and Trevor McKinley plated runs with singles in the bottom of the sixth for the RedHawks (15-12) and the home team got two more in the eighth on an RBI double from John David Isbell.
Brad Smith struck out Tyler Robb to end the eighth and retired the side in the ninth for the save, making a winner of Hill (3-1). The righthander tossed six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. He walked three, hit a batter and struck out three in his longest outing of the year.
Martin Methodist used a different pitcher in every inning, with MMC starter Tristen Carson (0-1) giving up two runs on two hits with one walk and one hit batter in the first inning taking the loss.
Eddie McDaniels led off the game with a single and stole second before a walk to Bentley Jones. Jose Vera was hit, loading the bases for Custodio, who delivered a two-run single through the left side.
Cumberland stranded a pair of runners first, second and fifth innings and at least one runner in every inning, 12 in all.
In the third Custodio reached on catcher’s interference and Kyle Blackwell walked. Peyton Wheatley’s sacrifice bunt pushed the runners to second and third and Custodio scored on a wild pitch.
Tyler Jones led off with a double to rightcenter and Blackwell walked in the fifth but two fly balls left things to Saunders, who delivered an RBI single to center for a 5-0 CU lead.
The RedHawks got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Desmond Williams drew a two-out walk and McKinley followed with an infield single. Isbell’s pop-up went untouched, falling in the infield, allowing a run to come across.
Cumberland got the run back in the sixth after Vera was hit and went to third on a bad pickoff throw. Herrera’s sac fly to right pushed the advantage to 6-1.
Riley Phillips tripled and McMasters singled to start the bottom of the inning for MMC. Drew Nipper was hit with one out and the Phoenix missed a chance to end the inning with a ground ball doubleplay. McKinley made CU pay with a two-out RBI single to center, cutting the lead to 6-3 and ending the day for Hill after 88 pitches.
Nipper singled with one out in the eighth for Martin Methodist and McKinley did the same with two outs. Isbell followed with a two-run double down the rightfield line against Caleb Cox, but Smith shut the door, striking out Robb looking to end the inning.