DAYTON, Tenn. – Five Bulldogs hit home runs and Allison Blackwood went 6-for-9 with a pair of home runs and a triple in Cumberland University’s three games in Friday’s Bryan College Invitational at Delaware Park, as the Bulldogs went 2-1 with wins over the host Lions and Young Harris College and a loss to No. 15 Olivet Nazarene University.
Cumberland (3-2) started the day with a 6-1 victory over Bryan before rallying in the bottom of the seventh to beat Young Harris, 5-4, and dropped a mercy-rule-shortened contest, 15-6, to ONU in five innings.
Blackwood homered against YHC and Olivet Nazarene, bringing her season total to three in 15 at-bats. Six of the sophomore’s hits have gone for extra bases. Megan Lavery, Courtney White, Victoria Bennett and Autumn Collins also hit round-trippers on the day.
Lavery ended the day 5-for-8 with a double, triple and her dinger, driving in three runs. Sarah Murray went 4-for-9, while CaSarah Gilliam, White and Christina Manis each had two hits.
Cumberland 6, Bryan College 1
The Bulldogs totaled eight hits, five of which were for extra bases, and limited BC to three base hits in the opener.
After falling behind on an error and RBI single in the top of the first inning, Cumberland knotted the game at one apiece in the bottom of the third after White was hit by a pitch to start the frame and Lavery tripled into deep center field.
The ball would have cleared most collegiate fences but without a temporary fence inside the 300-plus-foot permanent fence, the ball continued to roll in the outfield grass where it was picked up by center fielder Beka James, who gunned down Lavery at the plate as tried to score on the base hit.
The Bulldogs added four more runs in the fourth inning on four hits. Allison Blackwood led off with another would-be home run turned triple before Victoria Bennett was plunked for the second time in as many games. After a pair of groundouts Meghan White drove in the first two runs on a bloop single to right field. Courtney White followed with a shot to deep left field that she turned into a two-run inside-the-park home run.
Murray drove in Cumberland’s sixth run in the fifth inning with a double that plated Caity Gray who was running for Blackwood, who started the frame with a single.
After the single run in the first, Blackwood (1-1) tossed four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and two baserunners. Gray tossed two innings of relief, keeping the Lions off the scoreboard and closing out the three-hitter.
Cumberland 5, Young Harris 4
With the win over YHC, the Bulldogs pulled out a victory after going into the seventh inning for the first time under head coach Heather Stanfill.
Cumberland fell behind 3-0 after three and 4-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth when the Bulldogs got within a run when Blackwood and Bennett hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the inning. It was the second straight inning that CU hit a leadoff homer after Lavery started the fourth with a shot to right-center.
Trailing by a run and down to their last three outs, the Bulldogs wasted no time fighting for the victory. Courtney White and Blackwood started the frame with consecutive singles, putting runners on the corners for Bennett.
The sophomore hit a dribbler to past the pitching circle and shortstop Caitlyn Bass fired home, trying to get the out at home as White was sliding in. The throw wasn’t in time as the Bulldogs found new life with the score knotted at four apiece.
Murray followed with a single through the left side to load the bases for Lavery, who responded with a walk-off RBI single to left field.
Gray (1-0) picked up the victory, pitching four innings of relief and scattering three hits.
No. 15 Olivet Nazarene 15, Cumberland 6 (5 innings)
The Tigers pounded out 11 hits and took advantage of several pitching mistakes hand CU its second loss of the season.
ONU hit three home runs and added a trio of triples, while eight Tiger batters were either hit or walked.
Cumberland jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run shot by Blackwood and, after Olivet Nazarene posted four runs in the bottom of the frame, knotted the game on Collins’ first career home run in the second.
ONU tacked on five runs in the bottom of the second and scored one, two and three in the final three innings, respectively. The Bulldogs’ other runs came in the fourth.
Cumberland returns to action next Friday with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. against Indiana Wesleyan University in the Bulldogs’ home opener.