The Cumberland baseball squad erupted for 24 runs in two games to earn its first three-game sweep in Mid-South Conference play this season, winning 6-1 and 18-3 in a doubleheader versus the University of Pikeville on Saturday at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium.
It was a beautiful afternoon for baseball and a terrific day for the Cumberland baseball program, as the 2004 NAIA National Champion squad was honored 10 years after earning the Bulldogs their first national title.
The 2014 edition of the squad jumped out of the gates quickly, plating three runs in the opening frame of game one. Chris Hall led off the inning with an infield single and moved all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Senior Ricky Coleman followed with an RBI single up the middle.
Sam Lind was hit by a pitch immediately following and Brady North followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0. A double play ball brought home one more run and, after one, the Bulldogs led 3-0.
The Bulldogs (29-16, 12-8 Mid-South) were blanked over the next two stanzas but added two more in the fourth. Tyler Anderson opened the inning with a leadoff second and moved to second on a wild pitch. Justin Byrd reached on an error, moving Anderson to third and Josciel Veras knocked in a run with a single to center field. Catcher Bryan Haney added a one-out sacrifice fly to give CU a 5-0 lead.
The Bulldogs added a run in the sixth thanks to a fielding error which plated Anderson for the second time and left senior starting pitcher Jake Collier with a six run advantage. The Bellevue, Wash., native handled the rest, allowing just one run in the complete game victory.
Collier scattered 11 hits in the contest, working out of a couple of bases loaded jams thanks in part to three double plays. In the field, the Bulldogs did not make a fielding error in either game.
Cumberland again jumped ahead early in game two, plating three runs in the opening inning and putting a six-spot on the board in the second.
Hall was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and Coleman added a single up the middle, putting runners on second and third. Lind drew a walk, Anderson knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly and Byrd singled back up the box to score two more, making it 3-0.
In the second, Hall and Coleman recorded back-to-back singles, setting the stage for a three-run big fly from North. After singles from Anderson and Byrd, Veras followed with a no-doubt homer over the scoreboard in left field to put the Bulldogs in complete control at 9-0.
Cumberland failed to score in the third and allowed three runs in the top of the fourth, but answered in a big way with a three run bottom of the inning. North led off the inning with a single and Anderson did the same, putting two on with no outs.
After a flyout, a fielder’s choice and a walk loaded the bases, a throwing error brought North home and junior Tyler Alford delivered a two-RBI double in the right-center field gap, pushing the score to 12-3.
CU emptied the bench in the fifth inning, allowing several bench players to appear at the plate. Senior Garrett Treadwell recorded his first hit of the season, a single to left. Redshirt sophomore Dakota Byrd earned the first hit of his Bulldog career in a big way, launching a two-run homer over the right field wall.
The Bulldogs kept pouring on in the home half of the sixth, adding four more runs to bring the score to its final, 18-3. Redshirt sophomore Timothy Smith added his first hit of the season with a single back up the box in the inning, as did Jacob McCollom with a single up the middle.
Senior Stevie Smith earned the victory on the hill, working five innings, scattering seven hits and surrendering three runs. Redshirt sophomore Austin Williams worked the final two frames, allowing three hits.
Tyler Anderson had the best day at the plate for Cumberland, finishing the pair of games 5-for-6 at the dis with an RBI and three runs scored. North knocked in four runs on the day, as did Veras. In total, 13 Bulldog position players recorded at least one of 17 hits in game two.
Cumberland will be back in action for a single game versus Tennessee Wesleyan today at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium. In their last meeting on March 25, CU got the best of the home squad, 14-8, in a 14-inning thriller. First pitch for today’s game is set for 2 p.m.