|CU wins conference opener|
|Monday, April 28, 2008|
MILLINGTON -- It wasn’t very pretty.
Cumberland mustered just enough Monday to down Martin Methodist 6-5 in the opening round of the TranSouth Conference tournament at the USA Baseball Complex.
Seeded No. 4, the Bulldogs (37-19) advance to a 4 p.m. game Tuesday to take on top-seeded Trevecca Nazarene (34-12) -- a 13-3 win Monday night over Bethel College.
Click here for a link to Cumberland’s live audio and live statistical webcast of today's game.
"All you worry about is a win," said CU coach Woody Hunt after the game.
"The end result is what’s important. Our guys hung in there against a very good hitting team in Martin."
Lebanon native Michael Wheeler was the big offensive gun for CU, smashing back-to-back two-run homers in the third and fifth innings -- his 11th and 12 bombs of the season.
Junior Eric Spivey started for CU and went 3.1 innings before giving way to Aaron Tant.
Tant (4-3) picked up the win with five innings of work, striking out six, allowing just one hit and one unearned run.
Tant, a senior from White House, worked out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the top of the sixth.
"That may have been the turning point right there," Coach Hunt said.
"Aaron has tournament experience and it showed."
Andrew Ward pitched a shaky ninth inning to record his sixth save of the season -- despite giving up a double and hitting two batters.
After Martin Methodist closed the margin to 6-5, Ward induced a one-out grounder to second baseman James Lilley, who fielded the ball, stepped on second and fired to first for the game ending double play.
Zack Diekman ripped a run scoring single in the bottom of the first for CU’s first runs of the contest and Nick Jiles added a sacrifice fly to deep center in the fifth.