LEBANON, Tenn. – Freshman Sydney Broderick hit two home runs and collected five RBIs in her collegiate debut and Sarah Murray added three hits, as Cumberland swept a doubleheader from Bryan College, 5-2 and 6-2, Thursday in the season opener at the CU Softball Field.
Broderick’s two-run homer in the opening game gave CU a 2-1 lead and Emily Nicholson’s solo shot started a three-run fifth inning after the Lions (2-2) tied the game in the top of the inning. Caity Gray and Murray drove in runs later in the frame for the final margin and Gray (1-0) picked up the victory in the circle with two innings of relief, striking out two.
In the second inning the Bulldogs (2-0) scored four runs in the first to take an early advantage, including Broderick’s three-run shot to centerfield. Allison Blackwood added a solo homer in the fourth inning and the game was called after six innings because of darkness.
Courtney Maynard (1-0) went the distance for the Bulldogs, striking out nine and allowing just four hits with no walks. Bryan’s Jessica Southern hit a two-run homer in the third inning for the only runs against the righthander.
The Lions got on the board first in the opener in the third inning, putting together three hits that never left the infield. Kristie Jennings singled near the second base bag and moved to second on a groundout by Lauren Mathews.
Beka James reached on a swinging bunt in front of the plate to the third base side and Britney Hurst fisted a single over the third baseman’s head, loading the bases. Jennings scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 edge.
The Bulldogs finally broke through in the fourth, with Nicholson breaking up the no-hitter with a one-out single to short leftfield. With two outs Broderick drove a ball into rightcenter that just cleared the wall for her first collegiate hit and a 2-1 CU advantage.
Taylor Yates ripped a solo homer over the wall in centerfield to start the sixth, tying the contest at two. The next batter, Rachel Kirby, laced a double to rightfield that hit high off the fence, chasing CU starter Allison Blackwood from the game. Gray allowed a single but got out of the inning with the score still tied.
Nicholson’s high fly ball to leadoff the bottom of the inning landed just inside the leftfield foul pole, giving CU a 3-2 edge. Broderick walked with one out and pinch-runner Courtney White came around to score on a two-out single to center from Gray. Murray followed with an RBI double to rightcenter for a 5-2 Bulldog lead.
Gray tossed two shutout frames and allowed one hit and two walks and struck out two. Blackwood gave up two runs on seven hits in five-plus innings with three strikeouts.
In the second game CU struck first with another big blast from Broderick.
Gray walked with one out and Blackwood singled to center, putting runners on the corners. Gray scored on a passed ball and Nicholson walked before Broderick’s second homer of the day, this one over the wall in centerfield, for a 4-0 lead after an inning.
In the third Megan Lavery reached when catcher Haley Johnson dropped a pop-up and moved all the way to third on Gray’s bunt in front of the plate. The throw got away, Lavery raced for home and Southern’s throw hit Lavery in the helmet, allowing her to score for a 5-0 advantage.
The Lions cut into the deficit in the third inning with a single to left from Johnson and a two-run homer to deep leftfield by Southern, making it 5-2 Cumberland. Beka James beat out an infield single and Rachel Kirby singled to left later in the inning, but Maynard struck out Courtney Combs to end the inning without any further damage.
Blackwood belted a solo homer to center in the fourth inning for a 6-2 advantage.
Cumberland plays a doubleheader Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Christian Brothers and returns home to face Campbellsville University next Tuesday at 1 p.m.