LEWISTON, ID - No. 2 Cumberland smacked four home runs in winning an 11-9 slugfest over No. 4 Lee at the 54th annual Avista NAIA World Series at LCSC's Harris Field late Tuesday night.
The semifinals are set as Lee plays No. 7 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT while Cumberland faces No. 9 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) at 9 p.m. Cumberland remains as the lone undefeated team (3-0) among the remaining four-team field.
"These are two teams that have confidence in their offense," said Cumberland coach Woody Hunt. "Sometimes you get early runs and then they kind of fade away. We both hit and then we had a pitchers duel. I think the key was our five runs after Lee tied us in the first inning (score was 5-5). It was just a good game."
The four Cumberland home runs pushed the team total in the World Series to 10 in three games. That total comes as no surprise. The Bulldogs rank second in the NAIA in homers hit per game (2.1).
Cumberland (56-9) began the scoring frenzy with five runs in the top of the first inning. After two singles and a RBI-double, Kris Miller nailed a three-run home run and the Bulldogs led 4-0. The hit was Miller's third homer in three games in the Series and his 26th of the season.
Troy Frazier followed Miller with a roundtripper of his own, a solo shot, and before an out was retired in the game, Cumberland was up 5-0. Lee starter Jay Bolen was pulled after allowing five runs on five hits.
Lee (51-12) sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Rodriguez put the Flames on the board with a two-run shot, his 16th of the year. Seth Walker had an RBI-single and Edgar Molina drove in a run with a double. The fifth run came home on an RBI-groundout by Taylor Comford.
Cumberland made quick work on the 5-5 tie in the top of the second frame. With one out, Greg Appleton lifted the ball over the fence to give the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead. Frazier walloped his second homer of the game and third in the World Series, this time a three-run hit, to hand Cumberland a 9-5 edge. Max Kautz plated pinch runner Jason Frost on a single to shallow left-center and Cumberland led 10-5.
Lee's Tanner Moore set a single-season record with his 22nd home run, a solo shot in the second inning. That run put the score at 10-6 in favor of Cumberland. Comford notched his second RBI of the game, hitting a sacrifice fly in the third inning. That fly scored Walker, who reached on a double. From there, it looked like Lee was climbing back, down 10-7 heading into the middle innings.
However, Cumberland reliever Robert Post (7-3) had something to say about that. He went 8 1/3 innings in relief of Adam Sprague. Post allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits. He fanned seven batters and walked two. After settling down in the first three innings, Post gave up a single run in the fifth inning on an RBI-single by Comford and a run-producing base hit by Rodriguez in the eighth.
A pair of Lee relievers, Nolan Rudman and Aaron Everett, kept the Cumberland bats at bay after the initial scoring. The Bulldogs plated one run in the fifth courtesy of a RBI-single by Miller. But that was all the scoring for Cumberland after the third inning.
Four Bulldogs had two hits apiece led by the 2-for-4, four-RBI effort by Miller. Frazer also accounted for four RBIs.
GAME NOTES: Cumberland improve to 23-18 in World Series action and won the 2004 title - of the four remaining teams, the Bulldogs hold the most active wins in the World Series... Lee drops to 10-9 in the World Series... There were a combined six home runs (four by Cumberland and two by Lee)... The 20 combined runs scored is a 2010 World Series high...