Tyler Alford went 3-for-3 and collected five RBIs in game two of a doubleheader as No. 10 Cumberland escaped with a 6-5 win in the opening game, and followed with a convincing 15-1 performance in game two against West Virginia Tech here in baseball action Saturday at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium.
The Bulldogs rallied in the final inning of game one to retake a lead the squad had held most of the contest. After falling behind 5-4 in the top of the seventh, CU answered with a pair of runs, including a walk-off single from redshirt senior Sam Lind, which kicked away from the right fielder, allowing Josciel Veras to scamper home.
Senior starting pitcher Anthony Gomez provided a marvelous outing, going six innings, while allowing just one run on six hits and striking out 10. The Norwalk, Calif., native walked just one and threw 108 pitches.
Pinch hitting to open the frame, redshirt sophomore Chris Hall singled up the middle to lead off the inning. The speedster then took second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Attempting to throw out Hall, the Golden Bears’ catcher rifled the ball over the head of his third baseman and Hall scored. Veras followed with a two-out walk and scored on the Lind single.
Cumberland enjoyed a 4-0 lead through four innings despite leaving 11 runners on the base paths during the stretch. West Virginia Tech pitching aided that cause by walking 10 batters and hitting one during the first four frames.
The first Bulldog run came in the second inning thanks to an error from the Golden Bears. Senior Richie Seaton opened the inning with a leadoff single up the middle and senior Brady North drew a walk. Attempting to sacrifice, senior Bryan Haney put a bunt down the third base line and the West Virginia Tech third baseman sent the ball up the first base line, plating Seaton.
CU added three more in the fourth inning, taking advantage of six of the free passes. Junior Justin Byrd opened the fourth inning with a walk, moved to second with a stolen base and headed to third on a wild pitch. Following a walk from Veras, senior Sam Lind lifted a fly ball to right to score the second run of the game.
Not done in the stanza, Ricky Coleman drew another walk, stole second and senior Tyler Anderson doubled down the left field line to tack on another run. Two more walks loaded the bases and Haney was hit by a pitch to knock in the third run in the inning.
West Virginia Tech responded with a run in top of the fifth, taking advantage of a CU error. After a botched double play ball left the bases loaded, Golden Bear left fielder Zeke Grissinger knocked in Raul Torres on a fielder’s choice at second base.
The Golden Bears grabbed their first lead of the contest in a wild top of the seventh frame. After an error and back to back singles loaded the bases, Tech shortstop Austin Lucas singled in a run with just one out.
Bulldog closer Stevie Smith walked the next batter to bring the game within one. Smith induced an 0-2 count on the next batter and followed with two beautiful breaking balls that were each called out of the zone, and the hitter would go on to walk and tie the game.
Trevor Lam, the next West Virginia Tech hitter, rolled over on a ball up the middle and Veras made a spectacular play to knock the ball down and flip on to Anderson who fired to first, though the batter was called safe, and the Golden Bears had a 5-4 advantage.
In game two, Cumberland was finally able to take advantage of the bases loaded situation in the second inning. With the sacks full and no outs, Brady North knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice and Veras followed with an RBI single through the left side.
Tyler Alford delivered the back-breaking blow immediately after, singling up the middle to plate two more and break open the game. Hall grounded into a double play one batter later, which scored another to give the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead in the early going.
The scoring parade continued in the third as Cumberland put up another five-spot. Coleman began the scoring with an RBI single, and crossed the plate himself two batters later on a passed ball. Veras knocked in another run with a sacrifice fly, and Alford put a cap on the inning with a two-run blast over the left field wall. After four, CU enjoyed a 10-0 advantage. RBI singles from Veras and North, and an RBI double from Alford capped another five-run frame in the fourth, the third-straight in the game, and pushed the score to 15-0. A pair of singles and an error led to a run for the Golden Bears in the top of the fifth, making the score 15-1.
The bottom of the fifth would prove to be the final inning of the contest as darkness took over and umpires called the contest. The run in the fifth was the only run starter Clint Meadows would surrender. The junior allowed five hits in five innings of work in his second win of the season.
The Bulldogs will remain at home for a doubleheader with No. 5 Freed-Hardeman on Tuesday. First pitch of the opening game is set for noon.