Big innings give Bulldogs win in opener
Friday, February 24, 2012
Big innings give Bulldogs win in opener
Megan Lavery went 3-for-6 with four runs scored and one RBI in CU's doubleheader Friday against Indiana Wesleyan. (Credit Steve Wampler)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland scored seven runs in the sixth inning to win the opener, 12-5, but Katie Smth’s two-run homer in the eighth inning gave Indiana Wesleyan a 4-3 win in the second game in softball action on a cold and windy Friday at the CU Softball Field.

The Bulldogs (5-3) used two big innings to win the opening game of the doubleheader, scoring five times in the second inning, including a three-run homer from Allison Blackwood, and then seven runs in the sixth inning, stringing together eight hits in the frame after the Wildcats (4-2) tied the contest in the top of the inning.

In the second game CU allowed two unearned runs, one in the first and another in the fifth, before Smith’s blast to straight-away centerfield in the eighth inning. It made a tough-luck loser of Blackwood on the mound after the lefthander scattered six hits and gave up no earned runs through seven innings.

Megan Lavery scored two runs in each game for Cumberland and collected three hits in the twinbill, while Caity Gray, Sydney Broderick and Heather James each posted three hits in the two games. Gray scored three times and added four RBIs and Blackwood drove in five runs, four in the first game.

Courtney Maynard (4-0) picked up the win for CU in the opener, allowing five runs on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Blackwood tossed the final inning after the Bulldogs put up the seven-spot to retake the lead.

Blackwood (0-3) gave up two earned runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Indiana Wesleyan’s Abbie Forman (0-1) suffered the loss in the first game, giving up 12 runs on 13 hits with eight strikeouts. Jessica Hull (3-0) went the distance for the Wildcats in the second contest, allowing one earned run on seven hits with no walks and six punchouts.

Tamara Davis collected five of IWU’s 16 hits in the doubleheader, while Smith added three hits, three runs scored and four RBIs.

The Wildcats got on the board in the first inning of the opener after a leadoff single from Davis, who stole second and scored on a single through the right side and off the glove of Nicholson into rightfield.

CU got the first two runners on base in the first inning but the next three batters struck out. In the second inning Murray lined high off the wall in centerfield and Victoria Bennett walked. With two outs Lavery worked a walk, setting up Gray, who blooped a single in just the right spot, in front of the second base bag.

The ball squirted away from IWU’s Becca Mottayaw and two runs came across. Blackwood then lifted a high fly ball down the rightfield line that barely stayed fair, clearing the wall for a three-run homer and a 5-1 CU advantage.

Smith’s line drive homer to rightcenter in the third inning cut the Bulldog lead to 5-2. The Wildcats scored again in the fifth after Sam Hemming walked, stole second and scored on Davis’ double to leftcenter, making it 5-3.

IWU tied the game in the sixth, taking advantage of walks to Dana Runyan and Forman with one out in the inning. Bryttany Van Vliet’s single to left loaded the bases and one run scored on a single to center from Hemming, but Forman was thrown out at the plate. Kelsey Decker’s dribbler just to the right of the mound pushed across Van Vliet, tying the game at five.

CU responded with seven runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead, with James starting the rally with a leadoff single off the third base bag. Bennett singled with one out and Lavery’s bloop single to center scored James for a 6-5 edge. Gray singled sharply to center, plating another run, and Blackwood’s single to leftcenter scored another.

Broderick kept the hit parade going with an RBI single to left and James plated two more runs with her second hit of the inning. Murray’s swinging bunt off the end of the bat scored the final run for a 12-5 lead.

Gray went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs, while Murray also had three hits. Blackwood collected two hits and drove in four runs.

The Wildcats scored in the first inning of the second game as well, with Davis beating out an infield single and stealing second. Smith then walked, but Forman grounded to third, where James stepped on the bag and threw to first for a doubleplay.

Hull singled to left, putting runners on the corners, and Hull stole second. Kacy Hobbs’ throw sailed into centerfield, allowing Smith to score.

But Cumberland answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, also taking advantage of an error.

Lavery led off with a single and moved to second and third on wild pitches. Gray’s grounder to short was booted by Emily Sell and Lavery scored on the play. Gray went to second on a groundout by Blackwood and scored on Emily Nicholson’s two-out single to left for a 2-1 edge.

No one scored until IWU took advantage of a pair of Bulldog miscues to tie the game in the fifth.

Gabby McIntire’s infield single to the leftside started the frame and she moved to second on a passed ball. Davis singled off the leg of Blackwood with one out and she stole second. The throw bounced off the glove of Kaleigh Pearce into rightfield, allowing McIntire to score and Davis to move to third.

Blackwood fell behind 3-0 to Smith but worked the count full and struck her out looking. Forman’s excuse-me swing ended the inning with a grounder to the pitcher, but the damage was done.

James singled down the rightfield line to start the CU seventh, but Bennett could not get the bunt down and reached on a fielder’s choice, with James out on the play. Pearce then laced a double to rightcenter, but Bennett was nailed at the plate on a relay from Sell. Lavery grounded sharply to third to end the inning with the game tied at two.

The international tiebreaker rule went into effect in the eighth inning and Davis led off with a single to center, but Erin Moeller was tagged out in a rundown between third and home. But Smith followed with her second homer of the day, a two-run shot, for a 4-2 IWU edge.

Cumberland got one run back in the bottom of the inning, with Lavery moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on Blackwood’s grounder for the second out. Broderick kept the game alive with a single to left. Nicholson got ahead in the count 3-1 and fouled that pitch straight back, but Hill froze her with a 3-2 change-up for a strikeout to end the game.

Cumberland hosts Covenant College in a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and will take on St. Catharine College in a twinbill at home on March 1, also at 1 p.m.