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Inconsistency a killer for Cumberland
Apr 17, 2007 12:00 am
Cumberland has two wins over an Oklahoma City team ranked No. 3 in the NAIA with a 37-7 record at the start of this week.
The Bulldogs have victories over No. 9 Bellevue [24-11] and No. 13 Lee [32-10]. They can beat anybody in the country.
They also proved with Friday's 7-6 loss to a Mid-Continent team with a 6-31 record they can lose to anybody. And their inability to put together a three-game TranSouth Conference-series sweep has Coach Woody Hunt scratching his head in frustration.
"I think this team can do some things, but there comes a time when we have to define ourselves," said Cumberland coach Woody Hunt, whose No. 20 Bulldogs bludgeoned the Cougars 11-1 in the first game of the TSC double header. " We've shown we can beat anybody and we've shown we can be very, very bad."
Cumberland led the second game 6-3 when Mid-Continent used a hit batter, a single to right field, a wild pitch, an infield hit and a sacrifice fly to pull to within a run in the fifth inning. Bryan Allen followed with a double which was thrown away for an error allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
Then, Cumberland loaded the bases on a trio of walks in the sixth with the meat of the order coming up. But a 1-2-3 double play and a groundout to first ended the threat with a whimper and the Bulldogs dropped to 28-16-1 for the season and 13-6 in the TSC.
"We had poor at-bats with our two best hitters," Hunt said of the sixth. "We're just not getting the job done – coaching, playing, any facet of the game. We have nobody in our whole organization who's earning our money, including me."
Corey Jones and Daniel Williams drove in two runs each for Mid-Continent against Zach Whitmer, who gave up nine hits and a walk while striking out seven in going the seven-inning distance to fall to 3-4.
Mid-Continent's Chris Buckman [1-1] scattered nine hits and six runs in five-plus innings. He was pulled after issuing the second walk of the sixth. Reliever Josh Bowman issued the third walk before inducing the double-play grounder and retired the rest of the Bulldogs in order for his first save of the season as the Cougars climbed to 2-18 in the conference.
"Nothing against Mid-Continent, but this is a team we had to sweep in order to stay in [the TSC race]," Hunt said. "We don't have the answers. We've searched and searched. These are pretty good boys, but we can't get it done on the field."
No. 6 Trevecca split a double header with Martin Methodist on Friday and leads the TSC at 17-3. Freed-Hardeman, which faced Crichton in a twin bill later in the day, was second at 13-5 with CU third. The top two teams in the regular season earn an automatic bid to the NAIA Region XI tournament with the others needing to win their way in during the conference tournament. Cumberland and Mid-Continent will wrap up their three-game series at noon today at Hunt Stadium.
Clint Alexander had three of Cumberland's nine hits, including a two-run homer in the third to bring the Bulldogs into a 3-3 tie.
Austin Morgan tripled to lead off the Cumberland fourth and scored on James Parker's second double of the game. Kyle West followed with his first home run of the year for the 6-3 lead.
Eric Mull's first-inning sacrifice fly staked CU to a 1-0 lead. Mid-Continent scored three times in the third.
The first game was nothing but good for Cumberland as Robert Clayton held the Cougars to four hits in the five-inning game to improve to 8-1.
James Lilley drove in three runs, including a walk-off two-run blast in the fifth which run-ruled the Cougars. Mull singled home two scores in a five-run second. Lilley, Alexander and Luis Martinez each hit RBI doubles, Martinez and Preston Potter run-scoring singles and Courtney Propst a sacrifice fly.
Following today's series wrapup, Cumberland will travel to Louisville, Ky., Sunday for a 1 p.m. CDT non-confernece contest at Spalding.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.