PADUCAH, Ky. – David Bergin hit a pair of homers and drove in six runs and Josh McDaniel tossed six innings on short rest, retiring the final 16 batters he faced, as Tennessee Wesleyan punched their ticket to the Avista-NAIA World Series with a 9-2 victory over fifth-ranked Cumberland in the championship game of the 2011 McDonald’s NAIA Championship Opening Round here at Brooks Stadium.
Tennessee Wesleyan (40-19) advances to the 55th Annual Avista-NAIA World Series, which begins May 27 in Lewiston, Idaho. It is the second straight trip to Lewiston for TWC after advancing out of the Columbus, Ga., bracket in 2010.
Bergin had a two-run single in the second inning, hit a solo homer in the fourth and belted a three-run shot in the sixth, his third and fourth home runs in the two games on Sunday. Wesleyan scored three times in the second inning to take the lead and added single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings as well as three runs in the sixth for a commanding 9-2 advantage.
That was more than enough for McDaniel (6-2), who struggled through the first inning, allowing two unearned runs on two hits and throwing 35 pitches. The lefthander mowed down the Bulldogs over the next five innings, getting some help from his defense as well as a few breaks on hard-hit balls.
Corey Collins tossed the final three innings for his third save, giving up three hits with one strikeout.
Jordan Guida and Jonny Smith both collected three hits for TWC, while Anthony Boix and Cody Gaskill all recorded a pair of hits and Smith, Boix and Gaskill each had one RBI.
T.J. Murphy had two of CU’s five hits in the contest. The Bulldogs (46-16) fell victim to some bad luck during the game at the plate, hitting 6-8 balls right on the nose but directly at defenders, including a line drive at Gaskill off the bat of Tommy Crews to end the contest. Murphy was named the Music City Star of the Game for his efforts.
Matt Vance (4-2) took the loss, the first of three CU hurlers. The senior allowed three runs on four hits in 1.2 innings.
Wesleyan looked to take an early lead, loading the bases in the top of the first when Stephen Branca reached on an error by Tommy Winegardner, Smith singled and Gaskill was hit. But Vance tightened up, striking out Bergin, getting a popout from Rafael Carlot and a groundout by Sam Munson to end the threat.
The Bulldogs pushed across two runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to a very costly error by TWC.
Murphy singled with one out and moved to second on a passed ball. Mike Mandarino lined hard to leftfield with two outs, but Guida dropped the ball, allowing Murphy to score. Crews drew a walk and Fanshawe singled up the middle, plating Mandarino for a 2-0 CU edge.
Wesleyan answered with three runs in the second, as Guida singled and Boix had hits to start the inning. Branca singled to center with one out, loading the bases, before an RBI groundout from Smith. With two outs Bergin singled to left, plating two runs, for a 3-2 TWC advantage.
Bergin’s third homer of the day, a solo shot to dead centerfield with two outs in the fourth, pushed the lead to 4-2.
In the fifth Guida hit a ground ball double just inside the third base bag and Boix followed with a ground ball up the middle, hitting the lip on the back of the infield and over the glove of Crews into centerfield, plating Guida for a 5-2 TWC advantage.
Wesleyan added to its lead once more in the sixth inning, as Smith and Gaskill both singled to leadoff before Bergin belted another home run to centerfield for an 8-2 TWC edge.
In the seventh Ryan Santos singled to leadoff and pinch-runner Ronald Phelps moved to second on a wild pitch. Gaskill’s two-out single to center scored the final run of the contest.