LEBANON, Tenn. – With two losses to Union University on Monday – 5-3 and 4-2 – Cumberland University’s regular season schedule is in the books, and the Bulldogs are left to wait for the rest of the TranSouth Conference to finish this week to find out where they will be seeded in next week’s conference tournament, which begins on May 3.
Cumberland (29-25, 17-15 TranSouth) can finish anywhere between third and sixth in the league, depending on how Freed-Hardeman University, Lyon College and Bethel University fare in their remaining games. By not finishing in the bottom eighth or ninth in the conference, CU will not have to play a game on the opening night of the TranSouth Championships.
Against Union on Monday, CU managed just nine hits in the two games as the visitors completed the season sweep on Cumberland’s Senior Day, which honored the Bulldogs’ lone senior, Stephanie Gutierrez.
Cumberland was led at the plate by Allison Blackwood, who had three hits on the day, while Caity Gray produced two hits. Blackwood was named the Music City Star of the Game.
After Cumberland took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Blackwood’s double, which plated CaSarah Gilliam after the right fielder walked to start the frame, Union’s CJ Browder sent a grand slam over the left-field fence in the second inning to put UU on top for good. The visitors had already scored one run, on an RBI single by Brittany Burkett, in the inning.
CU got one of the runs back in the fourth inning after Megan Lavery reached on an error to start the frame. The Mt. Juliet High School product took second on a passed ball and moved to third after escaping a rundown following a ground ball hit by Sarah Murray. Lavery later scored on another passed ball, but Murray was left ultimately left stranded at third.
Cumberland left six runners on base in the contest, including another one at third base in the seventh. Pinch hitting with one out, Christina Manis reached base when Burkett dropped the ball after colliding with Browder and Miranda Mullen. Gilliam, the next batter, drove in Manis from second with a single back up the middle.
With the tying run at the plate, CU grounded out twice to end the game.
In the nightcap, Cumberland trailed 2-0 before scoring a pair in the bottom of the third to knot the game. Heather James reached on an error before Gray doubled to left-center to put runners on second and third for Manis, who bunted for a base hit and plated James. A groundout by Gilliam then scored Gray from third.
CU had runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings, including someone on third in both the fifth and seventh, but couldn’t scratch out any more runs.
Union scored once each in the fifth and seventh to make the final score.