NEW ALBANY, Miss. – Megan Lavery hit her fourth home run of the season and Cumberland University produced three-run innings in both games of a doubleheader sweep of Blue Mountain College at the New Albany Sportsplex Saturday afternoon, as the Bulldogs won 5-0 in the opener before coming from behind to take the second game, 3-1.
With the two W’s, Cumberland (21-15, 10-6 TranSouth Conference) has its first 20-win regular season since 2004. The Bulldogs won 20 games a year ago with one of the victories coming in the TranSouth Championships.
All five of Cumberland’s runs in the opener were unearned, taking advantage of four BMC errors.
Allison Blackwood improved to 9-8 on the season with six shutout innings and Caity Gray closed the game with a perfect seventh. Blackwood faced just two over the minimum through the first four innings, giving up a walk and a single and getting an out on the basepaths.
Lavery’s two-run shot capped a three-run third inning for the Bulldogs with all three unearned thanks to a pair of Blue Mountain errors. CaSarah Gilliam started the inning with a popup that was dropped by second baseman Jessica Bumpus. Gilliam was standing on third with two outs when the Toppers dropped another popup on the infield dirt, putting Stephanie Gutierrez on first for Lavery’s homer over the fence in left-center.
Cumberland added one run in each of the final two innings with a pair of sacrifices, including a squeeze bunt by Heather James in the sixth to score pinch runner Christina Manis. James’ bunt went back to the pitcher, who tried to get Manis at the plate, but the former track standout at Station Camp High School sprinted home and slid in under the tag. Manis was running for Gray, who reached on an error to start the inning.
In the seventh a Victoria Bennett sac fly plated Gilliam after the CU right fielder opened the frame by reaching on a two-base error and moved to third on a wild pitch.
Cumberland 3, Blue Mountain 1 (Game 2)
The Bulldogs had just four hits in the second game, including two bunts, and again capitalized on Blue Mountain miscues.
The Toppers got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning, plating a run on a fielder’s choice after a single, sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs had just one hit – a Manis bunt in the third – before coming to the plate in the top of the fifth, when Lavery led off with a bunt single and moved to the other corner with a passed ball and wild pitch. Caity Gray followed with a strikeout, but reached on the dropped third strike. A groundout by James moved Gray to second and plated Lavery.
Amber Mayne gave CU its first lead of the game with a double to the fence in left-center, scoring Gray. The Cumberland second baseman stole third and before sliding in under a tag on a fielder’s choice hit by Manis.
Courtney Maynard (9-5) earned the victory in the nightcap, not allowing a hit and facing just one over the minimum over the final four innings.
Cumberland takes on Trevecca Nazarene University Tuesday in Lebanon, Tenn., in CU’s third annual Breast Cancer Awareness Games.