Coming into the weekend, the University of the Cumberlands (UC) baseball team was looking to gain momentum before they entered Mid-South Conference (MSC) play. So far in the early season UC has played one of the toughest schedules in the country and it paid off when Brescia University arrived at Doyle Buhl Stadium as the Patriots swept the four game series.
On Thursday, February 14th, in game one, the Patriots had to come from behind on three different occasions before getting the walk off 6-5 win. Brescia would score first in the 3rd inning on a homerun by Alex Hegge to take the 1-0 lead. In the bottom half UC answered back to tie the game at 1 apiece when Jared Martin (Cynthiana, KY) hit an RBI single to score Victor Morel (New York, NY) who singled and stole 2 bases to reach third.
In the 6th inning Brescia would take the lead again 4-1 before the Patriots would step up once more to tie the game at 4 all. Blake Debacher (Miami, FL) led off the bottom half with a double followed by an RBI single off the bat of Alberto Mejia (Santo Dominbo, Dominican Republic). Then Victor Morel would hit an RBI single to cut the lead to 4-3 and later score to tie the game on a fielder's choice.
In the seventh Brescia took the lead 5-4 and looked to steal game one out from under the Patriots. However, UC had one last rally in them to turn momentum for the entire weekend. John Doolittle (Sharpsburg, GA) reached base on an error from the shortstop and Blake Debacher singled to tie the game at 5 all. Back to back intentional walks loaded the bases for Charles Hyde (Fort Mitchell, KY) who came to the plate with the Patriots down to their final out. After falling behind in the count at 1-2, Charles sent the next pitch into leftfield for the walk off 6-5 victory.
The Patriots used a host of pitchers in the game with Donavan Feenstra (Calgary, Canada) getting the start. Donavan went 3.2 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 5 strikeouts. In relief was Duncan Kaai-Ebert (Kapolei, HI) who pitched 1.2 innings allowing 3 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits, Adam Biller (Bowling Green, KY) who recorded the final 2 outs in the 6th inning, and Keita Murakami (Wailuku, HI; 1-0) who picked up the win throwing in the 7th inning allowing 1 run. The loss went to Brescia's Ryan Lutz.
In game two the Patriots Keith Prowse (Charlotte, NC; 1-0) had a great game on the mound going 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits with 3 strikeouts in picking up his first win of the season.
Cumberlands jumped on top 2-0 in the third inning when Zach McRoberts (Hillsboro, KY) walked to allow his courtesy runner Thomas Noll (Petersburg, KY) to score on an RBI single from Victor Morel. Charles Hyde would single in the inning also to score off a sac fly from Claudio Valencia (Yuma, AZ).
Over the next two innings, Brescia would tie the game at 2 apiece before the Patriots took the lead for good in the sixth when Cladio got hit by a pitch and later scored on an RBI single from Zach McRoberts. In the seventh Claudio would come on in relief to pick up his 2nd save of the season in Cumberlands 3-2 victory.
The series continued on Friday, February 15th with the Patriots turning to their ace Kahana Neal (Pearl City, HI; 2-0) to shut down the Brescia bats in the 4-1 win.
Cumberlands wasted no time in taking the lead as they scored 2 runs in the first when John Dolittle hit a 2 RBI single to score Charles Hyde and Hibraim Cordova (Vega Baja, Peurto Rico) who both reached base on walks.
Brescia would get on the board in the sixth to cut the lead to 2-1, but UC would answer back with 2 runs in the bottom half when Charles Hyde hit a 2 RBI single to score Blake Debacher and Alberto Mejia.
Adam Quiles (Miami, FL; 0-1) would come on in relief in the seventh of Kahana, 6 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 5 strikeouts, to close out the game while picking up his first save of the season. The loss went to Brescia's Cody Morris who pitched 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits.
UC left no doubt in the closing game as their starter Jonathan Bobea (Flushing, NY; 1-1) pitched an outstanding game going 6 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits with 10 strikeouts in picking up his first win of the season. In relief was Quinton Warriner (Russell Springs, KY) who pitched a scoreless seventh.
The Patriots bats came alive in the final game to score 13 runs on 11 hits and 13 walks that led to the 13-1 victory. With a large lead throughout, UC was able to put in some of the younger players for much needed experience before conference play.
"Our team is improving as we continued to play better and better as the weekend progressed," said Head Coach Brad Shelton. "A four game series is a grind and our guys kept the intensity up all weekend. Brescia is a scrappy team with a lineup of tough outs. Our pitching was very good, the defense was solid, and our hitters are starting to get in a groove at the plate. I was also happy to get some of our young guys some valuable experience in the series."
The Patriots are sitting at 5-4 on the season as they enter MSC play next weekend when they host Campbellsville University starting on Friday, February 22nd with the first pitch scheduled for 1:00 pm. On this day UC's baseball team will also be having their 3rd annual Military Appreciation Day to honor all current and former members of the Armed Forces. The series will resume on Saturday, February 23rd with first pitch scheduled for 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.