LEBANON, Tenn. – Campbellsville University scored single runs in the eighth and ninth to force extra innings and Chris Taitague’s two-out single with the bases loaded scored the winning run in the 12th in a 3-2 win against Cumberland in baseball action Thursday at HIG Field in Campbellsville, Ky.
The two teams will conclude the series Friday with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. CT.
Peyton Wheatley put Cumberland (25-17, 8-5 Mid-South) with an RBI groundout in the fourth inning and the Phoenix plated an unearned run on a throwing error in the eighth.
Tommy Sepulveda’s two-out RBI single got Campbellsville (21-18, 6-4) in the bottom of the eighth and a two-out RBI single by Adbiel Morales tied the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Morales was hit to leadoff the 12th for the Tigers and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Peterson. Tyler Deason was intentionally walked and with two outs, Sepulveda drew a free pass, loading the bases. Taitague singled over the head of CU leftfielder Eddie McDaniels to end the contest in the first of a three-game series.
CU starter Polo Portela tossed seven shutout innings before giving up runs in the eighth and ninth. He did not factor in the decision despite working 8.2 innings, scattering 10 hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Brad Smith (2-2) took the loss, giving up one run on three hits in three-plus innings of work.
Campbellsville used three pitchers in the contest, with starter Malcom Grady lasting just two innings and Eric Little allowing one run on four hits in four innings. Marco Murillo (3-0) worked the final six frames for the win, giving up an unearned run on six hits.
Bentley Jones posted two hits and walked three times for the Phoenix while Jose Vera and Kyle Blackwell each collected two hits. Cumberland stranded 11 runners in the game, five of those in scoring position, and Campbellsville turned three doubleplays as well.
Sepulveda recorded three of the Tigers’ 13 hits in the contest while Morales and Brandon Douglas netted two hits apiece.
Jones walked and Jared Schmidt singled with one out in the first for the Phoenix, but Vera flied out and LaDarius Williams grounded out to end the inning.
McDaniels singled and Jones walked to leadoff the Cumberland third inning, but Schmidt popped up, Vera flied out and Williams grounded out to end the threat.
The Phoenix got on the board in the fourth when Pablo Custodio led off with a single and Blackwell followed with a double. Wheatley’s one-out ground ball to second plated Custodio for a 1-0 CU edge.
Campbellsville got it first scoring chance in the seventh, with Taitague reaching on an error with one out and Cale Thompson drawing a walk. With two outs Jack Bauer singled to left, but Taitague was thrown out at the plate by McDaniels, keeping the Phoenix in the lead.
Vera posted a leadoff double in the eighth and Williams put down a bunt that turned into a single when Murillo slipped. Custodio bounced into a 1-6-3 doubleplay, but Murillo threw away a slow roller by Blackwell, allowing Vera to come across for a 2-0 CU advantage.
Campbellsville finally got to Portela in the bottom of the eighth, starting with a two-out double by Deason. Douglas’ hot-shot went off the chest of Schmidt at third base for a hit, putting runners on the corners, and Sepulveda followed with an RBI single to right.
Taitague nearly tied the game for the Tigers with a sharp grounder up the middle, but the ball hit the leg of Portela, who gathered and made the play to end the inning.
In the ninth Donnel Bailey singled to center with one out and moved to second on a wild pitch with two outs. Morales then singled to left, with Bailey scoring ahead of the throw to the plate, knotting the game at two and ending the day for Portela.