LEBANON, Tenn. – Tommy Crews went 4-for-4, Cory Farris added three hits and Greg Appleton and Mike Mandarino both homered to lead Cumberland University to an 8-3 victory over Mid-Continent University, completing the series sweep and giving the Bulldogs their 16th straight win to close out the regular season.
With the third straight TranSouth Conference regular season title wrapped up, Cumberland (42-12, 20-4 TranSouth) will next take on either Bethel University or Freed-Hardeman University Monday at Noon in the opening game of the TranSouth Championships at Union University’s Fesmire Field.
The regular season conference championship is the 19th overall for the Bulldogs, who reached the 40-win plateau for the 22nd time under Hall of Fame head coach Woody Hunt and eighth since joining the TranSouth nine years ago.
Mandarino also earned the victory on the mound, improving to 5-2 on the season. The Massapequa, N.Y., native gave up three hits and allowed one unearned run in five innings.
The right-hander struck out three and got the Cougars (24-29, 7-16) to hit into the first of three double plays turned by the Cumberland defense. Relievers Matt Vance and Daniel Kern also got 6-4-3 double plays behind them.
Appleton’s two-out solo home run to left field broke a scoreless tie in the third inning and the Bulldogs added tallies in each of the next three frames.
Singles by Farris and Crews, followed by a walk to David Fanshawe to load the bases for Jesse Bowman, who lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score the first run of the fourth inning. Antonio Butler then grounded out but drove in a run, his third RBI of the series.
After a single and a pair of errors led to a run scoring in the top of the fifth, Cumberland answered with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the frame with Farris driving in Winegardner, who singled and stole second.
The Bulldogs’ biggest inning came in the sixth when Bowman and Butler led off with a single and a walk, respectively. Appleton drilled a double down the right field line to score one and a TJ Murphy groundout plated another run and moved Appleton to third. The Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, native raced home on a wild pitch during Mandarino’s at-bat.
Mandarino’s solo shot in the seventh closed out the scoring for Cumberland.
Crews was named the Music City Star of the Game after his first career four-hit game.