Over the last week, the University of the Cumberlands (UC) baseball team has been playing their best baseball of the season winning six of seven games to improve to 11-8 (2-4 MSC) on the season.
The team traveled to Chillicothe, OH on Thursday, March 7th to take on Mid-South Conference (MSC) foe University of Rio Grande for a three game series. In game one, Hibraim Cordova (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) led the Patriots attack with 7 RBIs to propel UC to the 14-5 win as he smashed a 2 run homerun in the second and added a 3 run homerun in the ninth. In the game, Cumberlands collected 14 hits with Jared Martin (Cynthiana, KY) getting a team high four hits to go along with 2 RBIs and 3 runs scored. On the mound, UC starter Jonathan Paquet (Quebec, Canada; 1-1) would get his first win of the season going 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 8 hits with 4 strikeouts. In relief was Keith Prowse (Charlotte, NC) who went 4 innings allowing 2 runs on 3 hits. The loss went to Rio Grande's Michael Deitsch.
Game two was a heated contest as both teams went back and forth trying to pull out the win. Rio jumped on top early 1-0 on an RBI single by Kyle Perez in the third. Cumberlands would answer back with 4 runs in the fifth on an RBI single from Charles Hyde (Fort Mitchell, KY) and a RBI single from Blake Debacher (Miami, FL). Rio would add 2 runs in the bottom of the fifth and one more in the sixth to tie the game at 4 all. In the eighth, emotions got the best of both teams as the benches emptied after UC pitcher Adam Quiles (Miami, FL; 1-2) had a pitch get away from him hitting Andy Mitroff in the back. After play resumed, the Patriots would not back down from the challenge and showed their toughness by getting the 5-4 win when Ryan Palenzuela (Miami, FL) walked with the bases loaded in the ninth to push the go ahead run across the plate.
UC starter Jonathan Bobea (Flushing, NY) went 6 innings allowing 4 runs on 8 hits with 6 strikeouts. Adam Quiles came on in relief in the seventh and threw 3 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits with 3 strikeouts in getting his first win of the season. The loss went to Rio's Ryan Robertson.
It took extra innings to determine the outcome of game three as the Patriots came away with the loss 3-2. UC fell behind 1-0 after the first inning and each team would go scoreless until the sixth when Blake Debacher hit an RBI single to tie the game. Cumberlands would finally grab the lead in the eighth on an RBI single by Jake Goodman (Elizabethtown, KY); however, Rio would score in the bottom half to extend the game once more before getting the walkoff win on a sac fly in the tenth. Kahana Neal (Pearl City, HI) got the start for UC going 7 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits with 8 strikeouts. In relief was Claudio Valencia (Yuma, AZ; 0-1) who picked up the loss going 2.2 innings allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits with 3 strikeouts. The win went to Rio's Anthony Bond.
On Sunday, March 10th the Patriots returned home to host Holy Cross (IN) for a doubleheader at Doyle Buhl Stadium. In game one, Cumberlands sent Duncan Kaai-Ebert (Kapolei, HI; 1-0) to the mound and he delivered his best performance of the season in throwing a complete game shutout. It only took Kaai-Ebert 79 pitches to end the game in 7 innings allowing only 4 hits with 2 strikeouts. The Patriots bats were hot from the beginning as they scored 4 in the first with Claudio Valencia hitting a 3 RBI double. Cumberlands would go on to add 5 more runs to take the 9-0 win.
Game two was hard fought with Cumberlands walking away with the 4-3 win in walk off fashion when Hibraim Cordova had an RBI safety squeeze bunt to score Jared Martin in the seventh. Donovan Feenstra (Calgary, Canada; 1-1) got the win for Cumberlands throwing a complete game going 7 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits with 4 strikeouts. The loss went to Holy Cross pitcher Blake Correll.
"We have put together a good run over the past week," said Head Coach Brad Shelton. "Our pitching and defense have been solid. We've executed the short game and got some timely hits. It is tough to win a conference series on the road and we were able to do that. Now we have to build on the past week. Lindsey Wilson is the defending MSC champs, so we have another challenging weekend ahead of us. Our guys are looking forward to it."
The Patriots return to action this week on Tuesday, March 12th at home against Holy Cross starting at 1:00 pm. They will then host Ohio Mid-Western on Wednesday, March 13th starting at 1:00 pm. During the weekend, UC will welcome MSC foe Lindsey Wilson College into town on Friday, March 15th with game one starting at 1:00 pm. The series will resume on Saturday, March 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 at www.cumberlandspatriots.com.