Sprague tosses shutout in DH split
LEBANON, Tenn. – Adam Sprague struck out a career-high 10 batters in six innings, Sam Kikla hit a three-run homer and Max Kautz added two RBIs, as Cumberland split a doubleheader against the Univ. of St. Francis, winning 5-0 in the opener before falling 3-2 in the second game in baseball action Saturday at Ernest L. Stockton Field.
The Bulldogs (4-1) won three of the four games in the series, allowing just five runs on 20 hits with five walks and 32 strikeouts.
Sprague picked up where teammate Robert Post left off in the opener Friday, allowing just three hits with one walk and a career-high 10 strikeouts in just six innings. Peter Taraskevich retired the side in order in the seventh for CU.
Kautz went 2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs and Kikla hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning for the Bulldogs.
In the second game the Bulldogs managed just five hits and were just 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10 runs altogether.
USF’s Jerrid Rydell gave up two runs on four hits in six innings and Trevor Pulver worked in and out of a jam in the seventh for the save. USF’s Travis Potchka went 3-for-4 with a run and one RBI in the victory for the Cougars.
Cumberland scored twice in the second inning of the opener to take an early lead. Matt Greener walked with one out and Jesse Bowman followed with a single to center. Dave Weyer singled with two outs, loading the bases, and Kautz drove in two runs with a single down the rightfield line.
In the fifth Weyer and Kautz both singled to leadoff the inning before Kikla hit his first home run of the season, a three-run shot to rightfield. Kikla had a team-best 11 home runs last year.
That was all that Sprague would need, as the lefthander retired the side in order in the first, second and fifth. He hit a batter and Tyler Gregory singled to start the third, but got the next three batters out. In the fourth Taylor Futterknecht walked to leadoff and Chase Gaff followed with a single, but Sprague induced a doubleplay to end the threat.
Gaff took the loss on the mound for the Cougars, allowing five runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts in six innings.
In the second game St. Francis got on the board with two unearned runs in the first. Potchka led off the game with a single and Colin Zweibel hit a slow grounder between the mound and third base. CU starter Aaron Wilkerson’s throw to first was wide and got away down the line, allowing Potchka to score on the play. Scott Bickel’s two-out single down the leftfield line plated Zweibel for a 2-0 Cougars lead.
Greg Appleton hit a solo homer with one out in the second for the Bulldogs to cut the deficit to 2-1. But the Cougars added to their lead with a run in the fifth after a leadoff double from Gregory.
Ben Martin grounded back to the pitcher and Wilkerson made a throw to third for the runner, but Gregory slid in safely, putting runners on the corners. Potchka’s single up the middle plated Gregory. USF could have had more in the inning, but Futterknecht struck out and Gaff grounded out with runners on second and third.
The Bulldogs made it a one-run game again in the sixth after a leadoff walk by Appleton. Pinch-hitter Matt Greener doubled off the base of the wall in leftcenter with two outs, plating Appleton and making it 3-2.
In the seventh Kikla led off with a single and Weyer walked with one out, but Kautz and Appleton both flied out to end the contest.
Wilkerson (0-1) took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in five innings with seven strikeouts. Matt Vance gave up a hit and struck out two in two innings of relief.
Cumberland hosts Viterbo University next weekend at Ernest L. Stockton Field, with single games Saturday and Sunday at Noon.