Schaefer's 13 strikeouts keep Bulldogs alive
JACKSON, Tenn. – Shawn Schaefer tossed a complete game, striking out a career-high 13, and Michael Wheeler drove in three runs, including a two-run homer, as Cumberland survived with a 7-5 victory over Lyon College Wednesday at the TranSouth Championships at Fesmire Field.
With the win the Bulldogs (32-22) advance to play host Union University at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in another elimination game for CU.
Schaefer (6-2) threw 151 pitches in his sixth complete-game of the year and survived four errors, including one of his own. He allowed eight hits and five runs while walking three and keeping the Bulldogs alive in the tournament. CU has won the conference tournament in five of the last six seasons.
Wheeler hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, giving the Bulldogs the lead for good, and also singled home a run in the sixth. Clint Alexander collected two hits and scored twice for CU, and Kyle West drove in two runs.
Cumberland scored twice in the fourth to tie the game on a two-run double by West. The Bulldogs took the lead on Wheeler’s two-run homer and then plated two more runs in the sixth, one on a single by Max Kautz and the other on Wheeler’s single.
Lyon starter Sam Neal (2-3) worked 5.2 innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Matt Hill tossed 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with one strikeout.
The Bulldogs squandered an opportunity in the second inning after Sam Kikla led off with a single and a double from Matt Greener put runners at second and third. But Tyler Fisher popped out to short left, Eric Mull struck out looking and Alexander fouled out to end the threat.
CU got on the board in the third without a hit. West walked and pinch-runner Dave Weyer moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball. He scored on a groundout by Matt Holliman.
The Scots (35-19) plated three runs in the bottom of the inning. Josiah Hass singled to rightcenter with one out and Wil Moore bunted. He popped up the bunt down the third base line and Schaefer fielded it, but his off-balance throw was low and got by Alexander at first, allowing the runners to move to second and third.
Nick D’Amico then walked, loading the bases, before Neal’s grounder up the middle fell in-and-out of Holliman’s glove, allowing a run to score. Evan Segler and Zac Wallace followed with RBI singles, giving Lyon a 3-1 advantage.
CU came right back with two runs in the fourth, starting with a two-out walk to Mull. Alexander then dumped a single into short center and West laced a double high off the wall in center, plating both runners and tying the contest at three.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fifth when Holliman drew a leadoff walk and Wheeler followed with a towering home run to leftcenter that just cleared the wall for his ninth of the season.
CU scored twice more in the sixth after Alexander doubled over the rightfielder’s head with one out. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Kautz’s single through the middle. Holliman followed with a single to right, putting runners on the corners and chasing Neal from the contest.
Wheeler greeted reliever Matt Hill with a single past third baseman Aaron Thornton, giving the Bulldogs a 7-3 advantage.
Lyon scored twice in the seventh, starting with a one-out single by D’Amico. Segler then beat out an infield single and Holliman’s throw bounced away from Alexander, putting runners on the corners. A wild pitch allowed D’Amico to score and Wallace followed with an RBI single to left, making it a two-run game.
Schaefer retired the side in order in the eighth and got the first two in the ninth before Neal reached on Holliman’s third error of the contest. But the lefthander struck out Segler to end the contest and keep the Bulldogs alive in the tournament.