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Bulldogs win in final at-bat again

May 6, 2011

HENDERSON, Tenn. - For the second time in three games, Cumberland University used a walk-off single to win in the TranSouth Championships, claiming a 4-3 victory over Bethel University in an elimination game Thursday night at Morgan Stadium on the Freed-Hardeman University campus.

Cumberland (31-26) was in the win-or-go-home game after dropping a 3-0 decision to top-seeded Trevecca Nazarene University earlier in the day. The Bulldogs face Martin Methodist College Thursday at 11 a.m. in another elimination game.

After winning on Allison Blackwood's bases-clearing single against Martin Methodist on Wednesday, it was Megan Lavery that delivered the game-winning RBI versus the Wildcats.

The Bulldogs trailed 3-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning and had only two hits to that point. Blackwood led off with a grounder to third base that Jennifer Townson misplayed. Christina Manis pinch ran for Blackwood and moved to third on a double off the base of the wall by Stephanie Guiterrez. Both runners scored two batters later when Wildcat shortstop Brooke Cary committed two errors on one play.

Sarah Murray grounded to short and Cary bobbled the ball, allowing the CU second baseman to reach base and Manis to score. Cary then threw the ball away, which put Murray on second and plated Gutierrez, making it a 3-2 game.

The Bulldogs carried the momentum into the field, recording their first 1-2-3 defensive inning of the game as Blackwood needed just eight pitches to induce a trio of groundouts.

Another Bethel error to start the seventh put Meghan White on first base as her grounder went off of Leah Hensley's glove. CaSarah Gilliam then grounded to third, where Townson threw to second but not in time to force out White.

After the Wildcats recorded the first out of the frame, Blackwood singled to right field, scoring White from second and moving Gilliam to third. With a base open, Bethel opted to walk Gutierrez, the Bulldogs' cleanup hitter, to face Lavery, who dropped a bloop single into shallow left field for the game-winner.

Blackwood (15-10) pitched three innings of relief to earn the win after Courtney Maynard allowed just three Bethel runs despite giving up 10 hits. The Wildcats stranded 11 runners and Cumberland turned one double play.

Trevecca Nazarene 3, Cumberland 0

Cumberland managed just two hits and committed two costly errors falling into the loser's bracket with the loss to No. 5 Trevecca.

Cumberland (30-26) will face Bethel University in an elimination game at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Bulldogs split the regular series with BU.

Maynard suffered the loss for the Bulldogs, dropping to 12-10 on the year, after giving up three runs on six hits.

The Trojans, who are the top seed in the tournament, struck first with a pair of unearned runs in the first inning after Kelsey Lantrip reached on an error to start the frame. Kari Mason singled in the next at-bat before Karli Rush lined out to Gutierrez, who fired over to second base to double off Lantrip. Lauren Baker then drew a walk and Breanna Zeis doubled to plate Mason and Baker.

CU got its first hit of the game in the third inning with Gilliam sending a shot over the head of Zeis. The left fielder slipped in the outfield grass, but recovered to throw Gilliam out at third base.

Another Bulldog error in the third led to another unearned run as Mason reached on the miscue, stole second and later came home on a Baker groundout.

Blackwood produced the only other Cumberland hit and Lavery walked in the seventh inning, but the Bulldogs were unable to find the seventh-inning magic against their rival

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