CU falls 5-4 to Union
JACKSON, Tenn. – Union scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, their third comeback in three games, and freshman Jeremey Stack tossed eight strong innings, leading Union to a 5-4 victory over Cumberland Wednesday night at Fesmire Field in the TranSouth Championships.
Union (35-17) plated a pair of runs in the ninth on four hits, with Clint Barnes scoring on an infield single from Alex Turner and Turner coming across with the winning run on a single by Josh Jones. Union plated runs in the seventh and eighth innings against both Trevecca and Lyon College the previous two nights to take two-run victories.
Shortstop Matt Holliman could not get the ball out of his glove on Turner’s chopper in the ninth, allowing the tying run to score. Corey Rudolph then singled before Jones hit a chopper up the middle that hit off Holliman’s glove into centerfield to score the winning run.
Stack (7-3), who picked up the save against Trevecca Monday, battled through eight-plus innings, allowing just two earned runs on nine hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.
Cumberland (32-23) stranded nine runners in the game, including Max Kautz at third base in the bottom of the ninth. Kautz singled to leadoff the ninth and Matt Holliman followed with a walk. But Michael Wheeler bounced into a 6-4-3 doubleplay and Sam Kikla struck out to end the contest.
With the loss the Bulldogs must wait until Friday for a possible at-large bid to the NAIA Opening Round, which starts May 12 at nine sites around the country.
CU starter James Parker pitched terrific, giving up three runs, two earned, on nine hits in seven-plus innings. The righthander walked one and struck out a career-high nine.
Adam Sprague (5-5) suffered a tough loss, allowing two runs on four hits in two innings. None of Union’s four hits were sharp and only two even reached the outfield.
Kautz, Eric Mull and Clint Alexander all collected two hits for the Bulldogs.
Union started fast, with Turner ripping a double down the rightfield line with one out in the top of the first. Jones then hit a hanging breaking ball over the wall in left for his ninth home run of the season and a 2-0 Union lead after a half inning.
The Bulldogs didn’t do much with Stack until the third. Alexander hammered a 1-2 fastball over the wall in deep leftcenter, his third homer of the year and first since March 28 at Lyon College.
Kyle West hit the next pitch from Stack for a line drive home run over the wall in right, his third of the season as well and first since March 4 against Bellevue University.
Kautz followed with a double to rightcenter and Holliman was hit, but the runners were still at second and third with two outs. Matt Greener lined a one-hopper to Union shortstop Danny Grimm and his throw was low to first base. The ball got away from first baseman Cole McAdams and Holliman made a great read, heading home and just beating the throw for a 4-2 CU advantage.
Union had a pair of hits in the fourth but McAdams bounced into a doubleplay. Otherwise Parker kept Union at bay until another fielding mistake by the Bulldogs in the seventh.
Clint Barnes blooped a double down the rightfield line with one out and Allen Williams followed with a walk. Grimm then hit a perfect doubleplay ball, but it bounced right between Greener’s legs and into leftfield, allowing Barnes to score. Parker bore down and got a flyout and a lineout to end the inning without any more damage until Union’s runs in the ninth against Sprague.
NAIA regional bids will be announced at 1 p.m. CST Friday, with regional brackets announced at 5 p.m. CST. Stay tuned to www.cumberland.edu/athletics for more information on the postseason.