Wilkerson tosses eight shutout innings in 1-0 victory
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wilkerson tosses eight shutout innings in 1-0 victory
Aaron Wilkerson worked eight-plus shutout innings to get his fourth victory in a 1-0 win Friday against Trevecca Nazarene. (Credit Don Haynes)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Aaron Wilkerson tossed eight-plus shutout innings and Tommy Winegardner came on to get the final three outs, preserving a 1-0 victory for No. 1 Cumberland against Trevecca Nazarene on Friday in the first of a three-game series at Ernest L. Stockton Field.

The Bulldogs (15-6, 4-0 TranSouth) stranded 13 runners in the contest, including eight in the first three innings, but Wilkerson was magnificent through the first eight innings before giving way to Winegardner for the save.

Wilkerson (4-0) allowed five hits, only three through eight innings, walked three and struck out five before allowing two singles to start the ninth. The righthander was not particularly sharp but battled his way to the victory, much as he did in last year’s matchup against the Trojans, a 7-3 win for CU. For his efforts he was named the Music City Star of the Game.

Trevecca (12-11, 1-3) sacrificed the two runners in the ninth up a base, but Zach Polzin grounded out to third and Matt Dobbins popped out to second to end the contest.

The Trojans had just two runners reach third base in the contest, one in the sixth inning after a leadoff double from Jordan Foreman and then Chad Reynolds in the ninth after his leadoff single.

Cumberland scored its only run of the game in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk to Mike Mandarino, forcing in Winegardner, who led off the inning with a single. The Bulldogs had the bases loaded and no one out after the walk but two strikeouts and a groundout ended the threat.

CU also loaded the bases with one out in the second and had second and third with none out in the third, only to come up empty both times. Trevecca starter B.J. Boston (2-1) got out of all three jams and worked into seventh, allowing one run on seven hits while walking three and striking out seven.

Winegardner and David Fanshawe each collected two hits for the Bulldogs, while Foreman recorded two of TNU’s five hits in the contest.

The Bulldogs pushed across a run in the first but could have had more.

Winegardner lined a single into center on the first pitch from Boston and Greg Appleton was hit on the next pitch. Cory Farris floated a soft single past the shortstop and into short leftfield to load the bases and Mandarino drew a walk, forcing in a run. But two strikeouts and a groundout left the bases loaded for CU and just a 1-0 edge.

T.J. Murphy blooped a one-out single into rightcenter in the second inning and Winegardner and Appleton followed with solid singles, loading the bases again. But Farris bounced into a fielder’s choice and Mandarino lined out to leftfield to end the inning with the bases loaded again.

Tommy Crews struck out to leadoff the third inning for CU but reached on a wild pitch. Fanshawe then doubled down the leftfield line, but again the Bulldogs were unable to drive in the runs. Richie Seaton lined out to leftfield, Antonio Butler was thrown out trying to bunt his way on and Murphy grounded out to end the inning with Cumberland leading just 1-0.

Trevecca looked to tie the contest in the third after Foreman’s leadoff double. Pinch-hitter Corey Crunk flied out to center, moving Foreman to third, but after a walk to Matt Tidwell, Chad Reynolds tried to bunt his way on, only to be called out, as his leg touched the ball after he left the batter’s box. Mitch McClay lined out to right to end the inning with the Bulldogs still leading, 1-0.

Cumberland never really threatened again until the eighth when Seaton doubled to deep center to leadoff. He moved to third on Butler’s groundout, but Murphy grounded out to the first baseman and after a walk to Winegardner, Appleton fouled out to end the inning.

Cumberland and the Trojans conclude the three-game series Saturday with a Noon doubleheader. The Bulldogs also host Tennessee Wesleyan and Shawnee State this week in single games on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.