CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Stephanie Gutierrez hit two home runs and Megan Lavery and Sarah Murray also homered to lead Cumberland University as the Bulldogs split a doubleheader at Campbellsville University Thursday, winning the first game, 8-2, before giving up four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 7-6 defeat in the nightcap at Veterans Memorial Park.
Cumberland (29-23) pounded out 22 hits in the two games, including 12 in the first game, and took advantage of seven Tiger errors to score seven unearned runs between the two games. However it was five unearned runs over the final two innings that cost the Bulldogs the sweep and prevented CU from reaching the 30-win plateau for the first time under head coach Heather Stanfill.
The Bulldogs have two games remaining in the regular season, hosting Union University Monday, to reach 30 wins before the TranSouth Championships. Monday’s games could help decide third place in the league as CU remains in a tight battle with Freed-Hardeman University, Lyon College, Bethel University and Martin Methodist College.
In the opener Allison Blackwood (14-11) retired the first 11 batters she faced, marking the second consecutive game that a Cumberland pitcher has worked 4 2/3 perfect innings to start a game after Courtney Maynard did the same at Mid-Continent University Tuesday. Blackwood scattered four hits, allowing only one run and not walking a batter.
Cumberland struck for three runs, all unearned, in the second inning as Campbellsville committed back-to-back errors to start the frame. Caity Gray then singled and drove in Murray before Christina Manis bunted to load the bases. A third Tiger error gave Cumberland its second run before Victoria Bennett earned an RBI the hard way, taking a pitch to her left leg. With the bases still full and no one out, the next three batters all hit into fielder’s choices, leaving the bases loaded.
The Bulldogs stranded 13 baserunners in the game, including three again in the fourth inning after plating one run.
After two quick outs, Blackwood reached on an error by third baseman Bailey Dillender and Gutierrez and Lavery followed with singles to fill the bases for Murray, who was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, giving Cumberland a 4-0 lead.
An RBI double in the fifth gave Campbellsville its only run of the day, but CU responded with four more runs in the sixth.
With one out in the inning, Gutierrez worked a 3-0 count before taking what looked to be a fourth ball that was called a strike. After fouling off the next pitch, the Orlando, Fla., native sent Courtney Turpin’s next offering over the fence in left field. Two batters later, Murray put a ball in nearly the same spot to put the Bulldogs on top 8-1. The two-out homer was the first of the year for the freshman.
Heather James and Gray both singled and later scored during CaSarah Gilliam’s at-bat as the Camden, Tenn., native recorded a base hit before a throwing error by Dillender advanced the runners one more base.
Gray tossed two perfect innings of relief to close out the victory for Cumberland.
Campbellsville 7, Cumberland 6 (Game 2)
After the Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, Cumberland scored the next six runs before Campbellsville came back to win the game with a walk-off single.
The Bulldogs put up four runs in the third inning after Gilliam reached on an error to start the frame. After an out, Blackwood doubled and Gutierrez followed with a two-run single that just stayed fair along the left-field line. Lavery plated Cumberland’s final two runs of the inning with her sixth home run of the season.
Gutierrez pounded her second home run of the day in the fifth inning, bringing home Blackwood, who reached on a dropped fly ball by center fielder Kacie Vincent. The homer was the fourth of the year for the senior, who had zero career home runs coming into this season.
A two-run single in the sixth cut the Bulldog lead to three runs and the home team added four more scores in the seventh inning to claim the come-from-behind victory.