LEBANON, Tenn. – Keith Kirby tossed 4.2 innings of shutout relief to pick up the victory and Cory Farris’ two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning provided the winning runs in No. 1 Cumberland’s 4-2 win over Freed-Hardeman on Friday in Henderson, Tenn.
With the victory the Bulldogs (12-3, 3-0 TranSouth) swept the opening TranSouth Conference series of the season for both teams.
Kirby got out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth when he entered the game, inducing a ground ball from Kyle Dearing to end the inning. He walked a pair of hitters in the sixth but worked around that, retired the side in order in the seventh and walked only Dearing in the eighth.
The Lions (4-10, 0-3) put the tying run on base in the ninth with a two-out single from Tyler Wilson and a walk to pinch-hitter Jesse Hykes. Both runners moved up on a balk, but Robert Prieto struck out swinging to end the contest and preserve the series sweep for CU.
Kirby (2-0) gave up just one hit but walked four and struck out six. Mike Mandarino started on the mound for Cumberland, giving up two runs on three hits in 4.1 innings. He walked four and struck out four. For his efforts he was named the Music City Star of the Game.
Greg Appleton was the only Bulldog with two hits in the game and Farris had two of the team’s three RBIs.
FHU reliever Drew Suttles (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up three runs on four hits in one inning of work.
Cumberland got on the board first with an unearned run in the fourth. David Fanshawe reached with two outs on an error by Prieto and pinch-runner Daniel Harrison stole second. Tommy Crews then bounced to third, but Evan Mansell’s throw was wild, allowing Harrison to score on the play.
The Lions tied the game in the bottom of the inning, starting with singles from Prieto and Dearing. Kirkland Wheeler put down a sacrifice bunt before Mansell walked to load the bases. Joe Mike’s sacrifice fly knotted the game at one.
FHU took the lead in the fifth, chasing Mandarino from the contest.
Kyle Day walked to leadoff and Joel Pierce singled with one out. Both runners stole before a walk to Prieto loaded the bases. Dearing reached on a fielder’s choice, allowing Day to score on the play for a 2-1 Lions edge.
Cumberland tied the game and took the lead for good in the seventh, and yet still could have had more.
Crews led off the inning with a double and Richie Seaton was hit. Antonio Butler reached on a bunt to load the bases. T.J. Murphy’s flair over the head of the shortstop tied the game, but Tommy Winegardner and Appleton both struck out. Farris delivered on a 2-2 pitch with a two-run single to left for the 4-2 advantage.
Cumberland will head to Texas and Louisiana for five games over the next five days, starting with contests Sunday and Monday at Texas Wesleyan. CU will also play a doubleheader at Northwood University on Tuesday and a single game at LSU-Shreveport on Wednesday.