LEBANON, Tenn. – Keith Kirby tossed six strong innings and Nick Sydnor collected three hits, drove in two runs and scored once, as seventh-ranked Cumberland opened the 2012 season with a 6-1 victory over Brewton-Parker on Friday night in Mt. Vernon, Ga.
The Bulldogs could not have asked much more from Kirby (1-0), who allowed just two hits and one hit with seven strikeouts in six innings of work. The righthander threw 95 total pitches, 60 for strikes, and retired 14 straight batters after giving up two singles in the first inning to the Barons (2-2).
Sydnor singled home the first run of the game in the second inning, started a four-run fifth inning with a leadoff single in the fifth and plated CU’s final run with a single in the eighth. Josh McGee added two hits for Cumberland in the earliest season opener for the program since 2003.
Devin Stovall tossed three hitless innings to earn the save for the Bulldogs. The sophomore walked two batters in the eighth but struck out the final two of the inning to get out of the jam. In all he struck out five.
BPC starter Daniel Jones (0-2), the first of four Barons pitchers in the game, allowed three earned runs on seven hits in six innings, walking two and striking out nine.
The Bulldogs got on the board first when McGee reached on an infield single with one out in the second inning before a triple to leftcenter from Sydnor.
Sydnor started a four-run fifth inning for CU with a leadoff single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Craig Monson. Pinch-hitter Daniel Harrison’s single to center pushed Sydnor across and Harrison moved to second on the throw. Antonio Butler followed with a double just over the third baseman’s head, plating Harrison.
Cory Urquhart then walked and both runners moved up with a stolen base. Sam Lind’s two-out single to shallow right scored both players for a 5-0 Cumberland lead.
Omar Artsen drew a one-out walk for the Barons in the sixth, stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly to left from Joseph Taylor.
CU added another run in the eighth when Mike Mandarino led off with a single and pinch-runner Ryan Critchelow moved to second on a wild pitch. Sydnor’s single to right plated Critchelow for a 6-1 lead.
Cumberland and Brewton-Parker conclude the series Saturday with a Noon CT doubleheader. The Bulldogs play next weekend in Jackson, Miss., before the home opener February 15 against Milligan College.