COLUMBIA, Ky. – Clint Meadows was sensational on the mound after a rocky first inning and Chris Hall plated the winning run with a single in the 10th inning, as Cumberland came from behind for the third straight game, defeating No. 3 Georgetown College, 3-2, Tuesday at Egnew Park.
The Bulldogs (39-17) advance to the tournament championship game at noon today and will face either Georgetown College, St. Catharine or Shawnee State, who will battle the rest of the day in two games.
Meadows (6-4) allowed two runs (both walks) on two hits and threw 29 pitches in the first inning but then settled down, retiring 22 of the next 23 hitters heading into the bottom of the ninth. A baserunning blunder by Mid-South Conference Player of the Year Martin Lemus in the ninth probably saved the Bulldogs, as the right-hander worked around an error, a single by Lemus and an intentional walk to Armando Lomeli, who collected two of the Tigers’ four hits in the contest. Pinch-hitter Trey Gross lined out to end the inning.
Meadows threw just 109 pitches in the game, by far his longest outing of the year. The Springfield native’s longest previous outing this season was 5.2 innings at Embry-Riddle on March 11.
Cumberland scored the winning run in the ninth thanks to a passed ball, with Richie Seaton swinging and missing strike three, but the ball bounced off the glove of Lomeli and toward the third base dugout. Seaton beat the desperation throw to first and Bryan Haney moved the runner to second with a sacrifice bunt.
Hall then ripped the first pitch from Georgetown (40-7) reliever Craig Ramsey back through the middle and Seaton scored easily when centerfielder Duran Elmore fumbled the ball.
Sam Lind made a terrific play behind the second-base bag on the grounder by David Higuera to lead off the bottom of the 10th and pinch-hitter Edwin Santiago lined out to left before Elmore flew out to Seaton to end the contest.
Ramsey (5-1) suffered the loss, allowing an unearned run on two hits in two innings. Georgetown starter Tyler Arthur got no decision despite eight strong innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He walked two, struck out five and set down 17 of his final 19 batters after Lind’s RBI single in the third inning tied the contest at two.
Georgetown got on the board in the first inning thanks to walks to Justin Moore and Tyler Coker. Two-out singles from Steven Mancilla and Lomeli, the second one a high fly ball that fell just inside the right-field line, plated the runs for a quick 2-0 edge for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs answered in the second inning after a leadoff double by Brady North. Josciel Veras followed with a single to center, putting runners on the corners, and Justin Byrd’s sacrifice fly to left scored North, cutting the deficit in half.
Cumberland tied the contest in the third when Haney led off with a single and pinch-runner Zach Cole went to second after Arthur’s pickoff throw to first got away. He moved to third on Hall’s fly ball to center and after a walk to Ricky Coleman, came across on Sam Lind’s single to center.
Lomeli’s one-out single to right-center was Georgetown’s only baserunner from the first until the ninth when Coker’s grounder up the middle went off the glove of Tyler Anderson to start the frame. Lemus followed with a bouncer through the left side and Mancelli’s fly ball took Hall all the way to the wall for the first out.
Coker made it to third easily and Hall’s throw pulled Coleman off the bag into foul territory. Lemus couldn’t decide what to do at first base and after he finally headed for second, Coleman threw a strike to second to nail the runner for a huge second out. Lomeli was intentionally walked and Gross drilled the first pitch to centerfield, with Byrd squeezing the out to end the threat and send the game to extra innings.
Byrd named Mid-South Player of the Week
Cumberland’s Justin Byrd was voted the Mid-South Conference Player of the Week on Monday after posting 10 RBIs and a pair of homers in two games for the Bulldogs.
The Rockwall, Texas, native was 4-for-9 in the two contests, wins over Bryan and Lindsey Wilson. The junior hit a pair of grand slams versus Bryan, the first one a line drive that capped a six-run third inning that tied the contest. He belted his second grand slam in the next inning, putting Cumberland ahead for good.
Byrd finished with three hits and eight RBIs and is just the second CU player in the last decade to hit two grand slams in a game, joining Phillip Cuadrado, who did it from both sides of the plate in the same inning in 2004.
He drove in two runs in the first inning of Sunday's contest versus Lindsey Wilson as well. Byrd is batting .349 with 10 doubles, four triples, six homers and 31 RBIs this season after Monday’s victory over St. Catharine.