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Dawgs draw Bellevue for first round
May 24, 2007 12:00 am
Cumberland has drawn a familiar foe for the opening round of the NAIA World Series.
The fourth-seeded Bulldogs will face No. 5 Bellevue [Neb.] at 5 p.m. CDT Friday at Lewis-Clark State's Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho.
The teams have met several times dating to the 1995 national-championship game won by the Bruins. Cumberland also climbed from a 7-0 deficit to beat the suburban-Omaha team 9-7 in the opening round of the '04 Series, igniting the Bulldogs' run to the championship.
Of more relevance to this matchup, the teams met March 6 at Woody Hunt Stadium where the Bulldogs battered the Bruins 11-5.
"That's not indicitive," Cumberland coach Woody Hunt said of that long-ago game. "They didn't play good that day. They were on their [spring break] trip and was no indication of their ability."
Bellevue comes in 45-13 while Cumberland is 48-18-1.
"They're playing awful well right now," said Hunt, whose Bulldogs were set to fly out of Nashville International Airport this morning for the Great Northwest. "It's going to be a tough first-round matchup for us.
"They do a lot of small ball. But they got a lot of guys who can swing the bat. They're a good defensive team and a good offensive team. They run the bases well. They got two or three guys who can pitch."
The Bulldogs have been on a roll for nearly two months. They're 27-5 since April 1 and have won 22 of their last 25.
"We've been playing pretty good since April," Hunt said while packing Monday night. "It's what we usually do anyway. But we struggled in March.
"But what kind of team you're going to be is usually determined in April and May."
Also on Cumberland's side of the bracket, No. 9 Houston [Texas] Baptist will take on No. 8 Lindenwood [Mo.] at 2 p.m. Friday with the winner catching No. 1 Azusa Pacific [Calif.] Saturday. The Bellevue-Cumberland winner will take on the Azusa Pacific winner at 5 p.m. Memorial Day while the loser faces the Houston Baptist-Lindenwood loser in an elimination game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
In the other bracket, host Lewis-Clark State drew the No. 3 seed and will face Lee [Tenn.] Friday night. No. 10 Walsh [Ohio] will open the tournament Friday morning with a matchup with No. 7 St. Thomas [Fla.] with the winner catching No. 2 Spring Arbor [Mich.] on Saturday.
The 10-team, double-elimination tournament runs through June 1.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.