LEWISTON, Idaho — Showing no opening-game nerves in their first NAIA World Series game since winning the 2010 championship [before any current players were on the roster], Cumberland took San Diego Christian out of the match early in a 10-1 triumph last Friday night at Harris Field.
The Bulldogs scored three times in the bottom of the first inning and twice in the second, fifth and seventh innings to keep the pressure off pitcher Jake Collier, who threw 131 pitches in improving to 9-3.
Cumberland climbed to 45-19 and will face host Lewis-Clark State [43-7] at 8:30 p.m. CDT tonight. Win or lose, the Bulldogs, who haven’t lost here since going two and out in 2007, will play again Monday.
Sam Lind doubled to left field to score Chris Hall and Ricky Coleman and came home later in the first inning on a wild pitch thrown by Gabriel Hemmer [13-4].
“We beat a good team, beat a good pitcher,” Cumberland coach Woody Hunt said on his postgame radio show. “Thought we might have a lot of trouble, but Sam had that big double. After that we had confidence we could swing the bat.”
Brady North made it 5-0 an inning later when he doubled home Lind and Zach Cole, courtesy-running for catcher Bryan Haney.
San Diego Christian, which fell to 42-19 and will face Georgia Gwinett today in an elimination game, gift-wrapped two runs in the fifth when North and Josciel Veras scored on two throwing errors on the same play.
After San Diego Christian scored in the top of the seventh, Cumberland got the run back with 100-percent interest in the bottom half when Hall was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Coleman followed with a fielder’s choicer grounder to score Cole.
Tyler Anderson, who had three of Cumberland’s 11 hits, doubled to left-center field to score Justin Byrd in the eighth.
Collier scattered four hits and three walks while going the distance on the mound.
“He’s a workhorse for us,” Hunt said of the right-hander. “He knows how to pitch. He’s a gamer right now.”
When talking about Lewis-Clark, Hunt attempted to put the Bulldogs in the underdog role against the home team, which beat Cumberland in an extra-inning classic in the 2006 championship game.
“We have nothing to lose,” Hunt said. “We’ve had a good year. It doesn’t matter what happens now. We’re just happy to be playing.”