Bulldogs open season with doubleheader sweep
LEBANON, Tenn. – CaSarah Gilliam stole second, third and home during Caity Gray’s at bat in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Cumberland University a 3-2 win over Tennessee Wesleyan in the second game of a season-opening doubleheader Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs claimed a 1-0 victory in the first contest.
Gilliam came in as the flex player running for Emily Nicholson, who reached base on a fielder’s choice. Gilliam swiped second on a throw that was off the mark by catcher Ashley Bryson and slid into third just under the tag of Kanissa Webb.
With Gray facing a 2-2 pitch, Gilliam broke for home as Bryson popped up with the ball, trapping the freshman in a rundown. Gilliam made one move back to third and then turned for home. The throw to the plate hit the CU player in the back and she was able to cross the dish for the winning run.
Cumberland (2-0) trailed in the contest until Nicholson sent a solo home run – the first of her career – over the fence in right center during the bottom of the fifth, tying the game at 2-2.
Allison Blackwood followed with a double to left center and Caity Gray walked, but Paige Goins struck out Courtney White to end the inning and the threat.
The bottom of the first started off with a scary moment for Cumberland as Megan Lavery fouled a pitch off the handle of her bat and was struck in the face by the ball. After several minutes the shortstop returned to the batters box and dropped the next pitch over the head of her counterpart. She stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Victoria Bennett. Stephanie Gutierrez knocked in the run with a single to left center.
Nicholson added a hit in the frame, but Cumberland was unable to push across any more runs in the frame.
Tennessee Wesleyan (0-2) knotted the game at one apiece as Webb reached on a throwing error and eventually scored on a single by Myranda Hughes.
TWC added a go-ahead run in the third when Sunni Jackson came home on an error. She reached base with a leadoff single.
Gray (1-0) earned the win striking out five and allowing four hits.
Cumberland 1, Tennessee Wesleyan 0 (Game 1)
Cumberland put up a single run in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the first game of the doubleheader.
CU went one time through the lineup without getting a baserunner until Megan Lavery was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth inning. Cumberland couldn’t do anything with the free base as the next three batters went down in order.
Cumberland picked up its first hit of the season as Allison Blackwood slid a seeing-eye single through the right side of the infield to start the next frame. Pinch runner Christina Manis then stole second during the next at bat and later advanced to third on a passed ball. Manis was left standing on the bag as the inning ended with a Taylor McDaniel pop up to the center of the infield after the freshman fouled off seven pitches during the plate appearance.
The homestanding Bulldogs got on the board in the sixth inning as Lavery reached on an infield single. Victoria Bennett doubled to the fence in center field and Lavery came all the way around from first, but was gunned down in a close play at the plate.
Bennett scored the only Cumberland run when Stephanie Gutierrez delivered an RBI single to right-center field.
Blackwood (1-0) picked up the win, scattering five hits over seven scoreless innings and striking out five.
The Bulldogs play a doubleheader against Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday before embarking on a seven-game road swing. Cumberland will not play at home again until March 14 against the University of Rio Grande.