March 06, 20151234567RHE
Cumberland Univ.0000000032
Brenau Univ.100000X140
Win: Gossett (0-0) 7.030015
Loss: Newsome (0-3) 6.041113
Pearce (CU) 301000
Nowakowski (CU) 201000
Benavides (CU) 301000
Schneider (BRE) 302100
March 06, 20151234567RHE
Cumberland Univ.01012105131
Reinhardt Univ.0021010470
Win: Abell (2-0) 5.264213
Loss: Luck (0-0) 7.0135534
Nowakowski (CU) 404000
Braselton (REIN) 412000
Blair (REIN) 312201
Eison (REIN) 212010
Bulldogs split on first day in Gulf Shores
Friday, March 6, 2015
Bulldogs split on first day in Gulf Shores
Katelyn Nowakowski went 4-for-4 against Reinhardt, collected five hits in Friday's two games and also made a nice shoestring catch in CU's two games in Gulf Shores, Ala. (Credit Steve Wampler)

GULF SHORES, Ala. – Katelyn Nowakowski went 4-for-4, Madison Gonzalez scored twice and Crystal Bryant got the final two outs with the tying and winning runs in scoring position, as Cumberland hung on for a 5-4 victory over Reinhardt University in its second game here Friday in the Gulf Coast Invitational.

The Bulldogs (2-4) dropped the first contest of the day, 1-0, to 20th-ranked Brenau University.

Kaleigh Pearce put Cumberland ahead for good against Reinhardt with a two-run single in the fifth and Vienna Benavides delivered a two-out, RBI single in the sixth for an insurance run. RU’s Katie Blair hit a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to pull the Eagles (7-10) within a run.

A hit batter and a double with one out in the seventh gave Reinhardt a chance to at least tie the contest, but Bryant struck out Taylor Braselton and Benavides made a nice play to her right on a ground ball by Taylor Weeks to end the contest, preserving the victory for Kristen Abell (2-0), who allowed two earned runs on six hits in 5.2 innings.

The Bulldogs pounded out 13 hits in the victory but stranded 10 runners, including the bases loaded in the top of the seventh. Benavides, Tessa Tomaselli, Pearce and Giselle Delgado each collected two hits to go along with four from Nowakowski. Delgado and Maryah Cohen also drove in runs for CU.

Braselton, Blair and Andrea Eison all posted two hits for the Eagles and Blair drove in a pair of runs.

Cumberland got on the board first against Reinhardt after Nowakowski singled with one out. Madison Gonzalez grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Delgado doubled over the head of Braselton in centerfield and Gonzalez scored all the way from first on the play when the throw back to the infield got away.

The Eagles plated a pair of unearned runs in the third thanks to small ball and an errant throw from Delgado, who was catching the second contest.

Eison walked with two outs, the Eagles’ first baserunner of the game, and Braselton put together a beautiful bunt in front of the plate. With everyone converging on the ball, Eison never slowed down, heading for third.

Tomaselli tried to get to the third base bag, but Delgado’s throw was high and sailed into leftfield. It took a bad hop by Nowakowski, who was backing up the play, and rolled all the way to the wall. Both runners scored easily for a 2-1 Reinhardt advantage.

Cumberland got the run back in the fourth with another two-out hit, something it was unable to do in the opener.

Nowakowski singled to center with one out and after another fielder’s choice, Delgado walked. Cohen then drilled a double just inside the third base bag, down the leftfield line. Gonzalez scored on the play, knotting the score at two.

The Eagles retook the lead in the bottom half again, this time with a leadoff single by Randi Wimpy. Two batters later Blair ripped a double down the leftfield line, scoring Wimpy for a 3-2 RU advantage.

Benavides led off the fifth with a single to left and Tomaselli’s chopper to the left side got through when Weeks broke to second to cover on a steal. Benavides took third on the play and Tomaselli reached second on the throw. Pearce followed with a single to center, plating both runners, though she was thrown out trying to take second.

Nowakowski just missed a home run later in the inning, collecting her third hit of the game with a double off the leftfield wall, but the Bulldogs led 4-3 after four-and-a-half complete.

The Bulldogs got a bit of good fortune in the bottom of the inning after consecutive one-out bunt singles from Eison and Braselton. Weeks lined to first, but Tomaselli snagged it for the second out and flipped to Benavides to complete the doubleplay and get CU out of the jam.

Cumberland added another run in the sixth after a leadoff single from Delgado. Pinch-runner Brianna Gregory went to third on groundouts by Cohen and Kassydi Montgomery, but Benavides delivered a two-out single to rightcenter, giving CU a 5-3 edge.

Blair’s towering blast with two outs in the sixth cut the lead to one and ended the day for Abell, but Bryant got the final out of the inning on a ground ball.

In the seventh Pearce singled to left and Sydney Broderick pushed pinch-runner Kaycee Harris to second. Nowakowski then singled to center, but Harris broke back to the bag before taking third, putting runners on the corners. Gonzalez’s squibber up the middle got Nowakowski, but Harris stayed at third. Delgado walked with two outs and Cohen grounded out to second to end the threat.

Bryant got a groundout to start the bottom of the seventh but then hit Balli Willis. Eison followed with a double to rightcenter, but Braselton struck out on three pitchers and Weeks grounded out to end the contest. It marked the first career save for Bryant in just her second-ever appearance in the circle.

In the first game, Brenau plated a run in the first inning for the only score of the contest, though the Bulldogs missed several opportunities.

Kelsey Payne drew a leadoff walk in the first inning for the Golden Tigers and moved to second on Mackenzie Oliver’s sacrifice bunt. Liz Schneider followed with an RBI single to center. CU starter Leah Newsome worked around an error later in the frame, but Brenau took a 1-0 lead after an inning of play.

BU nearly added to the lead in the third after a one-out single to left by Schneider. Madison Lacy bunted but Benavides dropped the throw to first from Tomaselli, putting two runners on with one out. Newsome got a ground ball for the second out and Nowakowski made a nice shoestring catch on a line drive by Katie Cole to end the inning and keep it a 1-0 game.

Cumberland had baserunners in the contest but wasn’t able to come up with the big hit.

Nowakowski singled to center with two outs in the second before Delgado struck out to end the inning. In the third Benavides reached on an infield single off the glove of BU starter Madison Gossett to start the frame. She reached third on consecutive bunts from Katelynn Stoll and Montgomery, but Gonzalez grounded back to the pitcher to end the threat.

In the fourth Pearce singled to center with one out before pop-outs by Broderick and Nowakowski left pinch-runner Harris at second base. Delgado was hit to start the fifth and pinch-runner Alisa Walker went to second on a wild pitch, but Benavides grounded out to third, Stoll struck out and Montgomery popped out to end the inning.

Broderick walked to leadoff the seventh for the Bulldogs and consecutive bunts by Nowakowski and Delgado moved pinch-runner Gregory to third. Benavides battled through an eight-pitch at-bat, nearly doubling down the leftfield line before grounding to short. Brenau’s Mason Garland made the throw to first, with Benavides called out on a bang-bang play to end the contest.

Newsome (0-3) suffered the tough-luck loss despite her best effort so far this season, allowing the one run on four hits. She walked one, struck out three and retired 11 of the last 12 batters she faced. Brenau had just four baserunners after the first inning, with one of those reaching on an error.

Gossett gave up three hits, walked one and struck out five. The Bulldogs had baserunners in five of the seven innings but was unable to push across any runs.

Cumberland faces Columbia [MO] College and second-ranked William Carey at 10 a.m. and Noon, respectively, on Saturday to finish play in the tournament.