Bulldogs explode for 19-8 triumph
LEBANON, Tenn. – Tyler Fisher drove in six runs, including a grand slam in the first inning, and Sam Kikla added five RBIs in Cumberland’s 19-8 victory over ninth-ranked Campbellsville Wednesday afternoon at Ernest L. Stockton Field. It was the 12th straight win for the Bulldogs and the second over the Top 10-ranked Tigers in the last seven days.
Cumberland (22-14) pounded out 16 hits, including three each from Fisher and Kikla, and used 23 players in the contest. The Bulldogs scored seven run in the first inning and then seven more times in the sixth to end the game after seven innings because of the 10-run rule. CU defeated Campbellsville, 8-3, last Wednesday on the road.
Kikla and Michael Wheeler both scored three runs in the game and Kikla homered twice. Wheeler and Fisher hit the other homers for CU, who has 15 round-trippers in the last eight contests as a team.
Bulldog starter Babich Cowan (1-0) didn’t fool anyone but made it through five innings to pick up the victory, allowing six runs on 10 hits with one walk and one strikeout. Matt Vance and Lance Whittaker both pitched one inning of relief, with Vance giving up two unearned runs in the sixth.
Campbellsville starter Jake Kutsukos (2-2), who entered the game with a 2.25 earned-run-average in 24.0 innings of work this season, saw his ERA jump two-and-a-half runs after allowing seven runs on six hits in two-thirds of an inning. Kutsukos walked three and struck out one, but it was the free passes that came back to haunt the righthander.
The Bulldogs started quickly thanks to three walks in the first inning from Kutsukos. Max Kautz drew a leadoff walk and Wheeler walked with two outs. Matt Greener singled to right, loading the bases, before a walk to Eric Mull forced in a run. Fisher then delivered the big blow with a grand slam into the teeth of the wind in leftcenter for a 5-0 lead.
Clint Alexander and Kyle West both followed with singles before an RBI single from Kautz and then an RBI single by Kikla gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 advantage.
The Tigers (27-7) answered with three runs in the bottom of the second on four hits, but it all started with a one-out walk to Alex Ponich. Zach Townsend and Logan Smith both had singles to load the bases before a line drive to center from Nick Bertolucci plated a run. Tyler Derby and Colin Bryan followed with RBI singles, cutting the CU lead to 7-3.
Wheeler led off with a single and Greener was hit to start the Bulldog second. Fisher’s groundout plated Wheeler for an 8-3 edge.
Campbellsville added three more runs in the third starting with a double from Jimmy Voelker. Ponich’s single to center put runners on the corners before a groundout over the mound from Townsend plated a run. Smith then laced an RBI double down the leftfield line and Bertolucci followed with a triple to rightcenter, cutting the Cumberland advantage to 8-6.
Kikla hit a solo homer in the third for the Bulldogs, his sixth of the season, pushing the team’s advantage back to three.
CU added three more runs in the fifth, with Fisher again in the middle of the action after a leadoff double. He moved to third on a flyout from Alexander and scored on a West chopper past a drawn-in infield. Kikla then lifted a high fly ball into the wind tunnel toward right for his second homer of the game, giving the home team a 12-6 lead.
The Bulldogs scored seven more runs in the sixth, four of them unearned, as the Tigers committed three errors in the inning.
Wheeler led off with a solo homer to rightcenter, his fourth of the year. Greener and Mull then both reached on error by Tiger third baseman Chris Curley, putting runners on the corners. Fisher’s single through the leftside plated one run and Brian Karahalios walked to load the bases.
Dave Weyer drove home one run with a single to right and Kautz scored another run with an infield chopper. Kikla’s fielder’s choice plated yet another run before an RBI single to right from Matt Holliman. A bases-loaded walk to Chuck Belote scored the final run of the game for CU.
Cumberland finishes a seven-game homestand with a three-game series this weekend against rival Trevecca. The Bulldogs and Trojans play Friday at 2 p.m. in a single game and then take part in a doubleheader Saturday starting at Noon.