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Monroe throws eight strong innings in Bulldog victory

Staff Reports • Dec 15, 2015 at 2:39 PM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Junior lefty Marc Monroe allowed just three hits and one earned run in eight innings and struck outs seven leading the Cumberland baseball squad to a 6-2 victory over No. 25 Ave Maria on Monday afternoon at Sliwa Stadium on the campus of Embry-Riddle.

Monroe’s (2-0) lone blemish came in the top of the first inning, when a fielding error and a strikeout wild pitch put runners on first and third with one out. Ave Maria (13-14) first baseman James Lesniewski followed with a single down the third base line to make it 1-0.

Over the next 4.2 innings, Monroe would not allow another Gyrene batter to reach base, retiring 14 straight hitters. The Bradenton, Fla., native allowed a single to the leadoff batter in the sixth, but induced a double play to again retire the minimum in the frame.

Acting as the visitors in the neutral site contest, Cumberland (15-7) got on the board in the top of third with three runs. Catcher Bryan Haney led off the inning with a single, and redshirt sophomore Chris Hall followed with a bunt single. Zach Cole, acting as the courtesy runner for Haney advanced to third on the play when an errant throw sailed down the first base line.

Immediately following, Justin Byrd tied the game with an RBI single to left field, and Sam Lind reached on an error to load the bases. Redshirt senior Ricky Coleman gave CU its first lead with a two-RBI single that skated between the shortstop and third basemen.

Josciel Veras scored in the fifth to give the Bulldogs a 4-1 advantage thanks to a balk on the Ave Maria pitcher. Veras singled with one out to right field, moved to second on a Tyler Anderson single and moved to third on a passed ball.

Senior Will Henderson made it 5-1 one batter later with a single to left field to bring home Anderson.

The Bulldogs added a final run in the fifth, manufacturing a run after a leadoff double from Hall. The Friendship Christian-graduate moved to second on a groundout and scampered home on a sacrifice fly from Lind.

Hall reached base five times in the contest, going 3-for-3 with a double, two walks and a pair of runs scored. Veras added a pair of hits in a 2-for-5 afternoon. In total, Cumberland collected 12 hits, as everyone with a plate appearance recorded a hit.

Ave Maria tacked on a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, an unearned run off freshman reliever Andrew Woodfin. Woodfin allowed just the one run on no hits, but did walk a batter.

Cumberland will be back in action at Sliwa Stadium today for a twin bill with No. 3 Embry-Riddle, coached by former Bulldog All-American Randy Stegall and assisted by brother Randy, another ex-CU player. The Bulldogs and Eagles are set for a 3:30 p.m. CDT first pitch.

CU wins opener in extras but drops series

Brady North’s leadoff homer in the 12th provided a game one victory, but Shawnee State scored nine runs in the final four innings to take the second contest and the series, as 10th-ranked Cumberland split a doubleheader Saturday at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium.

Jake Cain, who drove in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in Friday’s 2-1 SSU victory, belted a grand slam in the eighth inning of the first game to put the Bears ahead, 4-3, but Cumberland (14-7, 3-3 Mid-South) plated a run in the bottom of the inning and North hit his second homer of the year to start the 12th to give CU a 5-4 triumph.

Kevin T. Greene tossed seven shutout innings before running into trouble in the eighth, leaving with the bases loaded and a 3-0 lead. Jake Collier allowed the grand slam to Cain before getting the final out of the frame. Clint Meadows (3-0) worked four scoreless innings to get the win, giving up two hits with two strikeouts.

SSU starter Zak Esposito pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, but reliever Mason Wisner walked seven in three innings, yet the Bulldogs were unable to score against the right-hander. The third Bears (13-10, 5-1) hurler, Cody Strayer, took the loss, allowing one run in one-plus inning.

The Bulldogs led 5-1 in the second game heading to the fifth, but SSU plated three runs in that inning thanks to a walk and an error and scored three runs in the sixth with the aid of two more free passes and another throwing error by CU. The Bears put the game away with three more runs in the seventh on RBI hits from Ryan Queener, Brady Hightchew and Dustin Bickmeyer in a 9-5 win.

Kevin P. Greene (4-1) suffered the loss for Cumberland, giving up six runs, four earned, on nine hits in 5.2 innings. The right-hander walked four and struck out three and was undone by the free passes and a pair of throwing errors by the CU defense.

Strayer (2-2) tossed all seven innings in the second contest, allowing five runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He retired nine of the last 10 batters of the game, hitting Ricky Coleman to start the seventh, but the runner was erased on a double play.

The Bulldogs got on the board first in the opener when Josciel Veras doubled with one out and Tyler Anderson followed with a single to center. Richie Seaton then singled up the middle for a 1-0 Cumberland edge.

The home team added to the lead in the sixth after a leadoff single to right by Justin Byrd. He went to second on a flyout to center and scored on Coleman’s double down the right-field line. North followed with an RBI single to right for a 3-0 advantage.

Kevin T. Greene worked out of a jam in the first but then retired 13 of the next 16 batters, though the Bears had at least one runner in four of the first five innings. He worked around two singles and a throwing error in the sixth as well and retired the side in the seventh before running into trouble in the eighth.

The left-hander allowed singles to Blake Maines and Wisner and walked Dalton Tinsley, all with one out, before inducing a popout from Hightchew. After a pitching change, Cain belted Collier’s second pitch over the wall in left field for a grand slam, giving the visitors a 4-3 lead.

The Bulldogs stranded a pair of runners in the eighth after a single by Coleman and a walk to Veras, but tied the game in the ninth, sending it to extra innings.

Tyler Alford drew a leadoff walk and Chris Hall followed with a double to right-center against Wisner. Byrd was intentionally walked, loading the bases, and Sam Lind bounced into a 4-6-3 double play, but pinch-runner Zach Cole scored on the play.

Both teams stranded a pair of runners in the 10th and another on base in the 11th before North led off the bottom of the 12th with a homer to right, his second of the year.

In the second game Lind doubled with two outs in the first and scored on Coleman’s single to center for an early lead for the Bulldogs.

Cumberland added three more runs in the second, starting when Alford was hit with two outs. Hall followed with a single and pinch-runner Zach Cole went to third on a throwing error by first baseman Maines. Byrd walked, loading the bases, and Lind’s bases-clearing double to right-center made it a 4-0 Bulldogs lead.

Shawnee State got on the board in the fourth on a solo homer to right-center by Todd Queener, but CU responded with a run in the bottom of the inning.

Byrd doubled to right-center with one out and Lind’s single up the middle plated the run, his fourth RBI of the contest, giving the home team a 5-1 advantage.

But the wheels started to come off in the fifth for Cumberland, with Ryan Queener and Hightchew starting the inning with singles. Bickmeyer grounded to third, but Anderson’s throw sailed, allowing Queener to score on the play.

Brady Page then walked, loading the bases, before an RBI groundout from Todd Queener. Daniel Katayama also walked, loading the bases again, and Nolan West’s groundout cut the deficit to 5-4.

In the sixth Ryan Queener doubled to left-center with one out and Hightchew reached on an infield single, putting runners on the corners. This throwing error this time was by Veras on the relay throw to first on a possible double play ground ball from Hightchew, allowing a run to score to knot the game at five.

Pinch-hitter Brandon Blackwelder singled through the right side, scoring pinch-runner Mitchell Lendenski, for a 6-5 SSU edge.

Shawnee State added three more runs in the seventh, with Maines singling to right and Lendenski pinch-running again and stealing second. Ryan Queener doubled home a run and Hightchew followed with an RBI single up the middle. He stole second and came across on Bickmeyer’s single to right for the final run of the contest.

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