Appleton, Mandarino homers lead Bulldog sweep
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Appleton, Mandarino homers lead Bulldog sweep
Greg Appleton homered twice in the opener in CU's doubleheader sweep Sunday against the Univ. of St. Francis. (Credit AYSPN)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Greg Appleton hit a pair of home runs in the opener and Mike Mandarino added a two-run shot in the second game, helping top-ranked Cumberland sweep a doubleheader against the University of St. Francis, 9-3 and 2-0, in baseball action Sunday at Ernest L. Stockton Field.

The Bulldogs (4-0) put together hitting and pitching in the twinbill, pounding out 10 hits in the opener and then limiting the Cougars (0-2) to just four hits in the second game.

Cumberland hits the road next weekend to face McKendree University and Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss. CU takes on McKendree on Friday at 1 p.m. and then again Saturday at 10 a.m. before playing the homestanding Blazers at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Appleton went 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored in the doubleheader, including a solo shot and a two-run homer in the opener. The second round-tripper went into the teeth of the wind in leftcenter and put the Bulldogs ahead for good in the 9-3 triumph. For her efforts Appleton was named the Music City Star of the Game.

Daniel Kern (1-0) tossed five effective innings in the opener in his first career start for the Bulldogs, allowing two earned runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out six. Cody Ferrell tossed two perfect innings in relief, striking out three.

USF starter Wesley Hunsucker (0-1) gave up six runs on six hits in four innings with four walks and three strikeouts.

In the second game Mandarino belted his first homer of the season deep into the trees just to the right of the batting eye, putting the Bulldogs ahead, 2-0, in the first inning.

Senior hurler Matt Vance (1-0), making just the fourth start of his career, tossed five shutout innings, giving up four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Newcomer and regular shortstop Tommy Winegardner struck out two and did not allow a hit to pick up his first save of the season.

Winegardner added three hits, two RBIs and three runs scored from his leadoff position in the twinbill as well, while Mandarino drove in three runs and scored three times in the two games.

USF’s Trevor Pulver (0-1) went the distance in the second game, giving up three runs on five hits with five walks and three strikeouts in six innings.

The Bulldogs jumped out early in the opener with a solo home run from Appleton in the bottom of the first, a line drive that just cleared the wall in rightfield.

The Cougars tied the contest in the third thanks to some shoddy Cumberland defense. Colin Zwiebel singled into rightcenter to leadoff and reached second when Antonio Butler overran the ball in the outfield. Ben Martin’s sacrifice bunt pushed Zwiebel to third and a ground ball from Tristen Peffley was booted by Winegardner, allowing the run to score.

Appleton put the Bulldogs back ahead in the bottom of the inning. Winegardner lined a single into rightfield to start the frame before Appleton laced a drive into the teeth of the wind and over the wall in leftcenter for a two-run shot and a 3-1 CU lead.

Later in the inning Mandarino walked, took second on a wild pitch and moved to third when the throw ended up in centerfield. He scored on David Fanshawe’s ground ball for a 4-1 Bulldog advantage.

CU added two more runs in the fourth, starting with a one-out double to leftcenter from Butler. He scored on Winegardner’s RBI chopper over the first baseman’s head. Appleton and Cory Farris drew consecutive walks to load the bases and Winegardner came across on Mandarino’s sacrifice fly, his third sac fly in three games.

The Cougars cut into the lead in the fifth after a leadoff walk to Derek Coverstone. Kern got a pair of strikeouts but Taylor Futterknecht hit one into the jet stream toward rightfield and the ball seemed to hang in the air forever before finally clearing the wall for a two-run homer.

But Cumberland came right back in the bottom of the inning with three more runs. Brandon King drew a leadoff walk and Richie Seaton followed with a single to center. After a pair of fielder’s choices, Winegardner plated a run with a single to leftcenter and stole second, putting runners on second and third.

Appleton then singled to left, scoring one run, and Appleton took second on the throw to the plate. The cutoff throw to second was in the dirt and got away, allowing Winegardner to score on the play for a 9-3 CU lead.

In the second game Appleton walked with one out in the bottom of the first and Mandarino blasted a two-out, two-run homer for an early lead.

The Bulldogs added a run in the sixth, starting with a leadoff double from Mandarino. Cody Ferrell singled to rightcenter with one out, plating the run for a 3-0 advantage.

It was more than enough for Vance, who retired 9-of-12 batters in the middle innings and worked around a hit batter, a single and an error to keep the Cougars off the board in the second inning. Freshman Devin Stovall tossed a perfect sixth inning in his Bulldog debut, striking out one, before Winegardner picked up the save.