The University of the Cumberlands (UC) baseball team was in Montgomery, Alabama over the weekend to face (#18) Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) and (#9) Faulkner University.
On Saturday, February 9th in the first game against Auburn Montgomery, Kahana Neal (Pearl City, HI; 1-0) was in mid-season form as he kept the Warhawk hitters off balance all day. Neal was able to go 6 innings allowing 0 runs on 2 hits with 4 strikeouts.
UC was able to get on the board first in the second when John Doolittle (Sharpsburg, GA) walked to lead off the inning. Blake Debacher (Miami, FL) then sacrifice bunted the courtesy runner Hunter Best (Jamestown, KY) to second with one out. That brought up first baseman Jake Goodman (Elizabethtown, KY) who came through in the clutch with an RBI single to put the Patriots up 1-0.
In the seventh, UC turned to their closer Claudio Valencia (Yuma, AZ) to finish it out. After allowing a walk and a hit with no outs, the Warhawks attempted to bunt them over. The ball went up in the air though leading to Valencia letting it drop after hitting his glove to turn a double play. Valencia got the last hitter to fly out to center and preserve the 1-0 win.
UCs Kahana Neal earned his first win of the season and the loss went to Auburn Montgomery's Chad Reeves. Claudio Valencia also earned his first save of the season.
In game two Cumberlands wasted no time getting on the board as they took the early 1-0 lead in the first when Charles Hyde (Fort Mitchell, KY) scored on an RBI ground ball by Hibraim Cordova ( Vega Baja, Puerto Rico).
In the fourth inning with the game tied at one apiece, Blake Debacher hit a solo homerun to give the Patriots the lead again 2-1. However, the Warhawks would score 4 unanswered runs to take the game by a score of 5-2.
Jonathan Bobea (Flushing, NY; 0-1) picked up the loss going 3.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 4 hits with 5 strikeouts. In relief of Bobea was Duncan Kaai-Ebert (Kapolei, HI) who went 1.2 innings allowing 1 run, 0 earned, and Donovan Feenstra (Calgary, Canada) who pitched 0.2 innings. The win went to AUM's Eran Frank's.
On Sunday, February 10th the Patriots faced off against Faulkner University in a matchup of NAIA top teams. In game one the Eagles jumped on top 1-0 early until UC's John Doolittle and Jake Goodman hit back to back solo homeruns on consecutive pitches in the third to put the Patriots in the lead at 2-1.
Faulkner would answer back scoring 10 unanswered runs over the last 5 innings to take the win 11-2. Starting for the Patriots was Jonathan Paquet (Quebec, Canada; 0-1) going 2.2 innings allowing 6 runs on 4 hits with 3 strikeouts in a losing effort. Drew Morgan (Elizabethtown, KY) would close out the third inning in relief and Jordan Cruz-Del Olmo (Miami, FL) would finish the game throwing 3 innings allowing 5 runs on 6 hits.
Game two would be a pitching duel as Cumberlands and Faulkner battled until the end with the Eagles picking up the 4-0 win. UC's Adam Quiles (Miami, FL; 0-1) threw 4.1 innings allowing 4 runs on 5 hits as he picked up his first loss of the season. Keith Prowse (Charlotte, NC) came on in relief to throw 1.2 innings allowing 0 runs on 1 hit.
For Faulkner, Griffis threw a complete game shutout and their second baseman Sanchez hit a 2 run homerun to lead them to victory.
On the weekend Cumberlands was led by senior Charles Hyde who had 3 hits, a run, a walk, a hit by pitch, and one stolen base. Jake Goodman also had 2 hits with 2 RBIs.
When asked about the weekend, Head Coach Brad Shelton said, "I was pleased with our competitive attitude and effort all weekend. The results could have been better, but we played two highly ranked teams on the road. We got a great outing from Kahana Neal in the win over Auburn Montgomery; our defense was excellent all weekend and out pitching looked dominant at times. We are still trying to figure out our best matchups out of the bullpen. We just need to get at bats to get our offense going. We hit the ball hard at times, but we struggled to string hits together. Its only February and this weekend's experience will pay off down the road."
On the season the Patriots are 1-4 as they head into next weekend when they take on Brescia University for a 4 game series on Friday, February 15th starting at 1:00 pm and Saturday, February, 16th starting at 12:00 pm.
For more information on the University of the Cumberlands baseball team you can follow them on twitter at @uccoachshelton or visit the athletics website www.cumberlandspatriots.com.