LEBANON, Tenn. – Mike Mandarino threw his first complete game of the season and Tommy Winegardner collected three hits and three RBIs and Tommy Crews added three RBIs, as No. 17 Cumberland salvaged a split against seventh-ranked Union, winning 10-5 in the second game after falling 4-0 in the opener, on Saturday at Ernest L. Stockton Field.
The Bulldogs (27-12, 8-4 TranSouth) won 2-of-3 games against the league-leader and pulled within one game of Union in the loss column. Cumberland struggled defensively in the doubleheader, committing seven errors which led to six unearned runs in the two games for Union (25-8, 9-3). The wind played a big factor in the contest, gusting upwards of 25 miles-per-hour and blowing straight in towards home plate, making any ball in the air an adventure.
Mandarino (3-2) allowed just one earned run through six innings before running into some trouble in the seventh, but the junior was able to finish the contest in his longest outing of the year. The righthander gave up five runs, two earned, on four hits, walking three and striking out six for his first victory since February 19. He was named the Music City Star of the Game for his efforts.
Winegardner tied the game with an RBI single in the first, walked and scored in six-run fourth inning, drove home the final run of the fourth and singled home another run in the sixth. For his efforts he was named the Music City Star of the Game.
Greg Appleton recorded three hits and scored three times in the victory as well, while Crews’ two-run single was the big blow to start the six-run fourth inning for CU. He added an RBI single in the sixth inning. The Bulldogs collected 16 hits in the second game after posting just four in the opener.
Union starter Jared Davis (6-1) was roughed up in his worst outing of the season, allowing seven runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings. He entered the game having given up just four runs in 48 innings of work this season.
In the opener Union starter Jeremey Stack (6-1) battled some wildness but kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard, giving up just four hits in seven shutout innings. The righthander walked four and struck out six, working out of jams in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings to strand nine runners in the contest.
Cumberland was 0-for-6 in the contest with runners in scoring position, failing to take advantage of opportunities against Stack.
Bulldog hurler Keith Kirby (2-2) did an admirable job in an emergency start after Will Locante was scratched due to an injury just before the game. Kirby scattered nine hits and gave up one earned run in seven innings, as the Bulldogs made four errors behind the righthander, leading to three unearned runs for Union. Kirby struck out one and did not walk a batter.
Union scored first in the opener with an unearned run in the fourth inning.
Cole McAdams led off with a single and Bryan Hill put down a sacrifice bunt, but T.J. Murphy’s throw to first was in the dirt and rolled down the rightfield line, allowing McAdams to reach third. A groundout by Kevin Kirksey scored McAdams.
Cumberland stranded the bases loaded in the first inning and left two runners on base in the second. In the fourth Crews singled and David Fanshawe was hit to start the inning before Jesse Bowman put down the sacrifice bunt. But Crews failed to score on Richie Seaton’s groundout and Appleton struck out to end the threat.
Union added a run in the fifth with the help of another mental error by the Bulldogs.
Danny Grimm reached on an infield single to start the frame and moved to second on Brett Pawlan’s sacrifice bunt. With two outs Doug Joyce hit a pop-up to the infield, but the gusting wind knocked the ball back toward the plate and it fell for a hit just beside the pitcher’s mound. Grimm scored on the play for a 2-0 Union advantage.
In the sixth McAdams led off with a single and moved to second on a bunt by Hill before Kirksey’s single to left put runners on the corners. Kirksey tried to take second on a pitch in the dirt and Fanshawe’s throw was low and got by Winegardner, allowing McAdams to score.
Union plated another unearned run in the sixth after a one-out double from Pawlan. He moved to third on a groundout by Oscar Depablos and scored when Winegardner bobbled a grounder from Joyce, giving the visitors a 4-0 edge.
Cumberland started the second game the same way, gift-wrapping a run for Union.
Depablos hit a soft chopper back to the mound with one out, but Mandarino’s throw to first short-hopped Appleton. Depablos stole second and scored on a McAdams single to center.
But the Bulldogs put together three hits in the bottom of the inning to finally get on the scoreboard in the doubleheader.
Appleton led off with a single and moved to second on Murphy’s sacrifice bunt. Winegardner’s single through the right side plated the run, tying the game at one.
Cumberland broke open the game with six runs in the fourth inning, all starting with a leadoff walk to Winegardner, just the fifth free pass of the season by Davis. Farris doubled with one out and both runners scored on a single to center from Crews.
Crews went to second on the throw to the plate and third on a wild pitch. Fanshawe then fisted a single into short left, a ball that died because of the wind and went off the glove of Grimm in short leftfield, as the shortstop tried to catch the ball over his head running backward after the Union infield was playing in on the pitch.
Pinch-runner Antonio Butler went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Bowman’s line drive to centerfield. Seaton then doubled down the rightfield line and Appleton beat out and infield single before an RBI single to left from Murphy ended the day for Davis.
Winegardner’s RBI single to right scored the final run of the inning, giving CU a 7-1 advantage.
Union plated its fifth unearned run of the day with a single run in the fifth.
Hill reached on an error by Murphy, went to second on a groundout from Kian Jost, third on a lineout by Benjie Fesmire and scored on a single to center from Grimm.
In the sixth Joyce was hit and pinch-runner Wacey Russell moved all the way to third after a bad pickoff throw from Fanshawe. McAdams’ groundout plated the run before Kirksey belted a towering home run into the teeth of the wind in leftfield, cutting the Bulldog lead to 7-4.
But Cumberland added three insurance runs in the bottom of the inning, starting with a leadoff single and a stolen base from Appleton. Winegardner’s third RBI single, this one to center, plated the run. Mandarino was hit before consecutive RBI singles from Farris and Crews.
In the seventh Mandarino tired a bit and walked two batters. A single to center from Depablos plated one run, but Joyce struck out to end the contest.
Cumberland plays Lindsey Wilson on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Veterans Field in Lebanon and will travel to Campbellsville University on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. CT contest. The Bulldogs play on the road next weekend in a three-game series at Bethel University.