LEBANON, Tenn. – Pinch-hitter Tony Kossina squeezed in the winning run as McKendree University scored twice in the bottom of the seventh for a 2-1 victory Friday over No. 1 Cumberland at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson, Miss.
Cumberland (4-1) stranded a runner in scoring position in the first six innings and wasted a great outing from lefthander Will Locante, who faced just one batter over the minimum before running into trouble in the seventh.
A third-inning single from Daniel Solis was the only baserunner for the Bearcats (2-3) through the first six innings against Locante. But Ronnie Calvird drew a leadoff walk to start the game-winning rally for McKendree.
Dan Corwin followed with a single up the middle and Kyle Moll’s single to right knotted the contest at one. Locante got a strikeout of Brad Dunnigan, but Kossina got his second attempt at the squeeze down and Corwin scored on the play for the victory.
Locante allowed two runs on three hits in 6.1 innings, walking one and striking out eight.
McKendree starter Nolan Martz pitched around trouble in every inning, allowing one run on five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out five and stranded a runner in scoring position in every inning. Eric Gentz (1-1) tossed a perfect seventh inning to pick up the win for the Bearcats.
Cumberland scored its only run of the game in the first, with Tommy Winegardner reaching on an error to leadoff the contest. He stole second and scored on Mike Mandarino’s two-out double to rightcenter.
In the second Richie Seaton singled to leftcenter to leadoff and stole second. He moved to third on a single to right from Cody Ferrell, but Antonio Butler grounded into an inning-ending doubleplay to squash the threat.
Greg Appleton tripled down the rightfield line with one out in the third but was stranded when Cory Farris grounded out to the first baseman and Mandarino grounded out to third.
Seaton walked with one out in the fourth and stole second again, but was stranded after a groundout and a strikeout by T.J. Murphy and Ferrell, respectively. Appleton was hit with two outs in the fifth and stole second, but Farris grounded out to end the inning.
Mandarino led off the Bulldog sixth with a double and moved to third on David Fanshawe’s fly ball, but Seaton struck out and Murphy flied out to end the threat.
Cumberland plays McKendree again Saturday at 10 a.m. and then takes on 12th-ranked Belhaven University at 4 p.m.