LEBANON, Tenn. – Megan Lavery homered for the fifth time this season and Cumberland University later used a seven-run inning to secure a 9-1 come-from-behind victory over Martin Methodist College, but the Bulldogs couldn’t keep the momentum going in the nightcap, leaving the bases loaded in the seventh inning of a 2-1 loss Wednesday at W.D. Savage Park in Pulaski, Tenn.
The win in the first game marked the second straight for Cumberland (25-21, 14-12 TranSouth Conference) in the series after the RedHawks had won the previous 28.
The Bulldogs, who had given up at least five runs in an inning in five of the 12 games played so far this month, produced their biggest inning of the year with seven runs in the fifth inning of the opener to bust open a 2-1 game.
Leading by a run thanks to Lavery’s two-run shot to left field in the fourth, Cumberland sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth. The Bulldogs managed just three hits in the frame but stayed alive with free passes and Martin Methodist (20-19, 6-10) miscues.
After Nicole Swann led off with a walk, Christina Manis bunted her way on and Swann slid into second before the force was made. A passed ball moved both runners up and the bases were loaded when CaSarah Gilliam reached on an error.
Victoria Bennett got the first RBI of the frame the hard way, getting hit by a pitch, before Allison Blackwood sent a grounder to first that was misplayed by Samantha Queen. The error plated two more runs and left runners on the corners. A walk by Stephanie Gutierrez loaded the bases for Lavery, who drove in Bennett for CU’s sixth run of the contest with a successful squeeze bunt, keeping the bags full.
Martin Methodist recorded the first out of the inning with a popup and Heather James followed with a double to make it an 8-1 game. After Swann was hit by a pitch and another out was recorded, Lavery scored Cumberland’s final run on a passed ball.
Blackwood (12-10) pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the frame to close out the mercy-rule shortened game. The sophomore gave up scattered four hits and didn’t allow a walk in the victory.
Martin Methodist 2, Cumberland 1 (Game 2)
Trailing 2-1 after six innings, Cumberland got the go-ahead run into scoring position but couldn’t extend the game.
With one out Gilliam reached on an error and Bennett followed with a single to left. Gilliam stole third before Gutierrez drew a walk to load the bases for Lavery, but the catcher grounded into a fielder’s choice that forced Gilliam out at home as the RedHawks were able to escape with the victory and the split in the season series.
Cumberland had seven hits in the game, three of which came in the third inning when the Bulldogs knotted the game at one run apiece. Caity Gray and Gilliam both singled before Blackwood drove in the run with a single to shallow left.
The Bulldogs’ next home date – against Union University on Friday – has been postponed due to forecasted inclement weather. Cumberland next plays at Bethel University Sunday at 2 p.m.