BATESVILLE, Ark. – Cumberland University knocked in a season-high 14 runs, including nine in the final two innings, rallying for a 14-12 victory over Lyon College in the first game of a doubleheader at Howard and Mary House Softball Field Saturday. The Bulldogs were unable to complete the sweep of their TranSouth Conference foe, dropping the second game, 3-0.
Cumberland (22-20, 11-11 TranSouth) also tied a season-high with 17 hits in the victory, overcoming six defensive errors, which was also the most this year. Christina Manis was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first game and collected an additional hit in the second contest, while Heather James also had five hits in the twinbill.
Trailing 8-5 after five innings of the first game, the Bulldogs battled back to score three runs in the top of the sixth to tie the contest at eight apiece. Manis put down a perfect one-out bunt and easily beat out the throw. The speedster stole second and went to third on CaSarah Gilliam’s single that dropped just in front of Kristi Kelley in center field. After Victoria Bennett was hit in the leg, Manis and Gilliam both came home on a grounder off the bat of Allison Blackwood that snuck through the right side of the infield. Stephanie Gutierrez then knotted the game with a sacrifice fly.
Blackwood got three quick outs in the bottom half of the inning before Cumberland touched Lyon reliever Tara Mitchell for six more runs in the seventh.
Nicole Swann started things by reaching on an error with one out before Caity Gray, Manis and Gilliam all singled, resulting in one run. After the second out, Blackwood made it a four-run game with a bases-clearing double.
Gutierrez delivered a single and Megan Lavery was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to reload the bases for James, who brought in the final two runs with a ball back up the middle.
The Scots got four runs, three of which were unearned, in the seventh before Blackwood got Cassie Wolfe swinging to end the game. Blackwood improved to 10-10 on the year.
Cumberland struck first in the opener with three runs in the second inning as six straight batters reached base with one out. Lavery got the stretch started with a double to the fence in left-center field and James brought her teammate home with a single through the left side.
A Swann walk put two on for Gray, who drove in James with a ball into right-center, before Manis loaded the bases with a bunt down the first base line. Gilliam followed with a grounder to short that plated Swann and forced Manis out at second.
Lyon opened the bottom of the third with three straight hits, scoring two runs before Cumberland recorded an out. The Scots then took a 7-3 lead with four singles with two outs.
Cumberland used its own two-out rally in the fourth to cut the deficit to two runs with Manis getting a single, stealing second and coming home on an infield hit by Gilliam. Bennett sent a double into the gap in left-center to plate Gilliam.
After turning a 6-4-2 double play behind reliever Courtney Maynard to end the fourth, Cumberland had its momentum halted with a twin-killing in the next inning. Gutierrez led off with a single and Lavery was hit in the head by a pitch, however James hit a hard liner that was snagged by first baseman Chelsea Fowler, who doubled up Lavery.
Lyon College 3, Cumberland 0 (Game 2)
The Bulldogs totaled seven hits and had a runner on base in all but one inning, and although six runners got into scoring position, CU was unable to scratch out any runs in the second game.
James went 3-for-3 in the contest with a double. One of the Chapel Hill, Tenn., native’s singles came in the seventh, when Cumberland put two runners with two outs. Bennett, who was pinch hitting, drilled a shot to center field, but Kelley made the catch to end the game.
The Bulldogs return home Tuesday to face Blue Mountain College at 1 p.m.