Post tosses eight-plus innings of relief as Bulldogs survive, 11-9
LEWISTON, Idaho – Cumberland scored 10 runs in the first two innings and Robert Post tossed 8.1 innings of relief to earn the victory, as the second-ranked Bulldogs hung on for an 11-9 victory over fourth-ranked Lee University late Tuesday night here at Harris Field in the 54th Annual Avista-NAIA World Series.
With the win the Bulldogs are the only remaining undefeated team in the field and will face Point Loma Nazarene Wednesday at 9 p.m. CT.
Cumberland (56-9) hit four home runs in the first two innings, as the teams combined for 16 runs and 16 hits in the two frames, but the Bulldogs led 10-6. CU added a single run in the fifth inning but watched as Lee (51-12) scored single runs in the third, fifth and eighth.
Post gave up a run in the eighth and had two runners on with one out before getting a strikeout and a fly out to end the inning.
Post (7-3) came on in the first inning after Bulldog starter Adam Sprague got just two hits. But Post limited Lee to just four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 8.1 innings, a season-long outing, striking out seven and walking two in his first appearance in 19 days.
Kris Miller hit a three-run homer in the first and Troy Frazier followed with a solo shot, as the Bulldogs plated five runs in the inning. But Junior Rodriguez belted a two-run home run and Lee got an RBI single from Seth Walker, a run-scoring double by Edgar Molina and an RBI groundout from Taylor Comford to tie the score after an inning.
CU answered with five more runs in the second, including a solo homer from Greg Appleton and a three-run shot by Frazier. Tanner Moore hit a solo home run for the Flames in the bottom of the inning, as the two teams played the first two innings in one hour and one minute.
Things settled down from there, with Aaron Everett, the fourth Lee hurler, limiting the Bulldogs to just one run on two hits in five innings of work with five strikeouts. Lee’s Jaime Harper (3-1) took the loss, giving up five runs on five hits in 1.2 innings of work.
Appleton, Miller, Frazier and Sam Kikla each had two hits for the Bulldogs, while Miller and Frazier both drove in four runs. Moore, Rodriguez, Walker, Molina and Comford all collected two hits for the Flames, with Rodriguez and Comford each recording three RBIs.
The Bulldogs got off to an even better start than the previous day when they scored three times in the first inning against Oklahoma City University. CU plated five runs in the first on five hits, chasing Lee starter Jay Bolen before the righthander recorded an out.
Appleton singled to leadoff the game and Sam Kikla followed with a single. Matt Greener then doubled down the leftfield line, plating Appleton, before Miller roped Bolen’s first pitch over the wall in leftcenter for his 26th home run of the year. Frazier followed with a line drive homer to dead center for a quick 5-0 CU edge.
But the Flames answered with five runs on five hits in the bottom of the inning.
Moore singled with one out and Rodriguez ripped a two-run homer in almost the same spot as Miller’s in the top half of the inning. Jose Cuevas walked before a Michael Brown single. Walker then singled through the leftside, driving in a run, and Molina chopped a double just over Appleton’s head down the rightfield line, plating another run.
Comford grounded out, scoring Walker, and Trey Burstrom walked. After ball one to leadoff hitter JJ Constantino, Sprague exited the game for Post, who got a fly out to end the 36-minute first inning.
The Bulldogs responded with five more runs in the second, starting with a leadoff home run from Appleton, his 17th of the season. Kikla then singled and Greener walked before Frazier hit a towering three-run shot over the wall in centerfield.
David Fanshawe followed with a double to leftcenter and Max Kautz plated pinch-runner Jason Frost with a single to center for a 10-5 CU advantage.
Moore lined a home run just over the wall in center to leadoff the second for Lee, and Walker hit a leadoff double to rightcenter in the third. He moved to third on Molina’s grounder and scored on a sacrifice fly from Comford, cutting the CU lead to 10-7.
Cumberland loaded the bases on three walks in the fourth, but Dave Weyer grounded out to end the threat.
In the fifth Appleton walked, stole second and scored on Miller’s seeing-eye single through the leftside for an 11-7 CU lead.
But Lee came right back thanks to some shaky Bulldog defense. Walker reached on a fielding error by Kikla to start the bottom of the inning and Molina’s chopper went off Murphy’s glove into rightfield, putting runners on the corners. Comford then chopped an infield single on the leftside, plating a run.
Burstrom sacrificed the runners to second and third and Constantino flied out to rightcenter, but the fly ball was shallow and Miller gunned down Molina at the plate, as the runner ran into Fanshawe just as the throw arrived but he failed to touch the plate. Fanshawe walked over and tagged him for the third out of the inning, ending the threat with just one run scoring.
Lee cut into the Bulldog lead again in the eighth, but Post worked out of the jam with just one run scoring.
Constantino singled with one out and Moore walked before Rodriguez chopped an RBI single into left, but Cuevas struck out and Brown flied out to right to end the inning with CU clinging to an 11-9 advantage.
In the ninth Post recorded the first two outs and thought he had Comford struck out before he singled into leftcenter. But Burstrom hit a soft liner to Appleton at first base, ending the contest.