February 18, 201812345678910RHE
St. Francis [IL]0100000003462
Cumberland Univ.0100000002372
Win: Sandoval (1-0) 3.032201
Loss: Hoppe (0-1) 1.023121
Faron (USF) 302010
Moseley (CU) 412201
February 18, 20181234567RHE
St. Francis [IL]0001020360
Cumberland Univ.0201001470
Win: Portela (1-1) 7.063334
Loss: Quiram (0-1) 6.074414
Peterson (USF) 301010
Michalak (USF) 321111
Smith (USF) 111010
Faron (USF) 301100
Gutierrez (USF) 301100
Rada (USF) 301000
Blackwell (CU) 323402
Blackwell posts three hits, four RBIs in CU split with St. Francis
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Blackwell posts three hits, four RBIs in CU split with St. Francis
Kyle Blackwell homered twice and had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh in CU's 4-3 win Sunday over St. Francis. (Credit Steve Wampler)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Kyle Blackwell homered twice and drove in the winning run with a double in the seventh inning, helping Cumberland earn a split of the doubleheader with a 4-3 victory over the University of St. Francis [IL] in baseball action here Sunday afternoon at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium.

The Saints (2-2) took the first game, 4-3, in 10 innings, scoring three times in the 10th before Cumberland (4-4) answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame. The teams conclude the four-game series with a Noon doubleheader on Monday.

Blackwell hit a two-run homer in the second and a solo shot in the fifth, giving the Phoenix a 3-1 advantage, but St. Francis tied the game with an RBI single by Anthony Faron and a run-scoring double from Antonio Gutierrez in the sixth.

In the bottom of the seventh Andy Garretson led off with a single and Blackwell laced a double into the rightfield corner. USF’s Gutierrez had trouble picking up the ball and Garretson never slowed down, scoring ahead of the throw for the 4-3 victory.

Polo Portela (1-1) picked up the win for Cumberland, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out four in seven innings of work. St. Francis starter Michael Quirem (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up four runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in six-plus innings.

Blackwell finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored and posted three of CU’s seven hits in the contest.

The Saints finally broke through in the 10th inning of the first game, scoring three times after not getting a hit since the fourth.

Faron drew a one-out walk before Shawn Harper’s bunt attempt was thrown away by CU reliever Curtis Hoppe, allowing the runners to reach second and third. Nick Dabrowski then doubled to rightcenter, scoring one run, but Harper went back to tag at second before trying to score and was thrown out at the plate.

No matter because Kevin Rada reached on an error and Kevin Mampe walked before John Peterson’s ground ball up the middle made it into centerfield, pushing across two runs for a 4-1 St. Francis advantage.

Jordan Hunt led off the bottom of the 10th for the Phoenix with a double to leftcenter and Rayden Sierra drove a ball to deep center with one out, but Travis Schoonover made a great catch against the batter’s eye for the second out. Carlos Moseley followed with a line drive homer to left, cutting the deficit to 4-3, but Mykel Gordon’s check swing induced a pop out to first to end the game.

St. Francis starter Mampe allowed one run on four hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out seven. He got out of jams in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, stranding seven Cumberland runners in the process to send the game to extra innings.

USF reliever Angel Sandoval (1-0) got the victory, giving up two runs on three hits in three innings.

Cumberland starter Thomas Galart struggled early before settling down, retiring the final 16 batters and 20-of-21 in nine innings of work. The righthander got 13 ground ball outs, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

Hoppe (0-1) took the loss for CU, giving up three runs, one earned, on two hits in one inning. He walked two and struck out one.

The Saints got on the board first in the opener with a line drive solo homer from Schoonover to start the second inning, but Gordon answered with a solo blast over the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning, knotting the contest at one.

Rada led off the third with a single for St. Francis and Mampe walked, but pinch-runner Aaron Michalak was picked off at second on a bunt attempt by Peterson. Galart got out of the inning with a strikeout and a groundout, keeping the contest tied.

The Phoenix threatened in the fourth when Sierra drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on Moseley’s sacrifice bunt. Gordon was hit, but Nick Mira struck out and Blackwell grounded out to end the inning.

Cumberland had another chance to take the lead in the sixth after Sierra reached on a one-out error. Gordon walked with two outs and Mira reached on an infield single, loading the bases, but Blackwell fouled out to end the threat.

Pinch-hitter Caleb Kellogg dumped a double down the leftfield line to start the seventh for CU and Garretson walked, but Hunt struck out trying to bunt. Hector Morales was out on a swinging bunt to the right of the plate and Sierra grounded out to end the inning, pushing the game to extra innings.

In the second inning of the second contest, Gordon drew a leadoff walk and Blackwell’s one-out line drive cleared the wall in rightfield for a 2-0 Cumberland advantage.

Pat Michalak homered down the rightfield line to start the fourth inning for the Saints, cutting the CU lead in half, but Blackwell answered with another line drive shot, this one right down the line in right, in the bottom of the frame, increasing the Phoenix edge to 3-1.

St. Francis knotted the contest at three in the sixth thanks to three hits and a walk. Everything started with a free pass to Pat Michalak and Tom Smith’s grounder down the third base line turned into a double, putting runners on second and third.

Faron singled sharply to right, plating one run, and Gutierrez followed with an RBI double to rightcenter, evening the contest at three, but Portela got a pop out and a strikeout to end the inning without any further damage.

The Saints nearly took the lead in the seventh after a one-out triple to rightcenter from Peterson, but Pat Michalak’s line shot to short turned into an inning-ending doubleplay, setting up Blackwell’s game-winning hit in the bottom of the frame.