LEBANON, Tenn. – For the second straight day a big inning proved costly, as 13th-ranked LSU-Shreveport scored six runs in the fifth inning en route to a 9-4 victory over No. 1 Cumberland on Wednesday in Shreveport, La. The contest ended an eight-game, seven-day road trip for the Bulldogs, with CU winning the first five outings before dropping the final three.
Cumberland (14-6) trailed just 3-2 heading to the bottom of the fifth before the Pilots (16-7) exploded for six runs on six hits, including a two-run homer from Kevin Smith, a run-scoring double and three RBI singles.
The Bulldogs got a valiant effort on the mound from Logan Neal (0-1) in just his second career outing. The lefthander allowed just a three-run homer in the third inning before it got away from him in the fifth. Patrick Corrigan threw for the second straight day out of the bullpen before Brent Boyd got the final three outs for CU.
Greg Appleton, Cory Farris and Tommy Crews each collected two hits for Cumberland. Appleton extended his hitting streak to six games, which includes 11 hits during that stretch. Tommy Winegardner also singled in the ninth, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.
Mike Mandarino drove in a pair of runs for the Bulldogs and now has a team-best 21 RBIs on the season, including 11 on the road trip.
Smith homered twice for LSUS and drove in five total runs, while four other players recorded two hits apiece. Pilots starter Jared Mata (3-2) tossed eight strong innings for the Pilots for pick up the victory, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
LSUS took an early lead with three runs in the third, starting with a two-out single from Justin Brodnax and a walk to Andrew Brouillette. Smith hit a 1-2 pitch over the wall in rightfield for his 10th homer of the year.
The Bulldogs cut into the deficit with two runs in the fifth. Appleton hit a solo homer with two outs and Farris and Mandarino followed with doubles, making it 3-2 LSUS.
But the Pilots came back with their six-run inning in the bottom of the frame.
Brodnax singled to leadoff and one batter later Smith hit his second homer of the game, a two-run shot to rightfield again. Chase Wentz then walked, stole second and scored on a two-out double from Shawn Moy, chasing Neal from the contest.
Ridge Gonsoulin followed with a single and Moy scored all the way from first on the play. Gonsoulin went to second on the throw and came across on a single from Michael Diffie, who then stole second and scored on Manny Estrada’s single to leftcenter for a 9-2 LSUS lead.
Cumberland scored two runs in the ninth against reliever Cade Bowen.
Daniel Harrison walked with one out and Winegardner singled to center. Appleton’s single to left loaded the bases before an RBI single from Farris and a run-scoring groundout by Mandarino.
Cumberland hosts rival Trevecca Nazarene in a three-game series starting Friday at 2 p.m. The contest begins a stretch of 16 home games in 20 contests for the Bulldogs between March 11 and April 5.