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CU knocks off top-seed Cumberland to reach winners’ bracket finals

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MSC Tournament in Kingsport, Tenn.

By Chris Megginson

The first extra innings game of the 2013 Mid-South Conference Tournament was also one of the most interesting as Campbellsville University edged No. 11 Cumberland University 2-0, in 11 innings Friday evening at Hunter Wright Stadium.
The win gives Campbellsville (30-17) its fifth consecutive 30-win season and ninth in the last 10 years.
Campbellsville’s back was against the wall in the bottom of the 10th. With the bases loaded of Bulldogs and no outs, the Tigers shifted their defense to bring in five infielders. The unusual shift led to a momentum shift, as relief pitcher Tylar Schmunk pitched out of the inning with a strikeout, force out at home and then pop up in foul territory.
Momentum stayed in the Tigers’ pocket entering the 11th. Josh Potter doubled to left center and Levi McCamish came into run, representing the eventual winning run. Travis Hayes reached on a fielder’s choice as McCamish slid in below a tag at third to put runners on the corners. Tanner Nielsen doubled to left-center and Keaton Neeb hit a sac fly to drive in Campbellsville’s two runs.
Patrick McMeel started the game for the Tigers, pitching 7 1/3 scoreless innings, while Anthony Gomez (10-1) dropped his first game of the season after pitching 10 scoreless innings before allowing two hits and two runs in the 11th. 
McMeel allowed seven hits and struck out nine in his no decision, while Gomez finished with four hits, four walks and two Ks.
Allen Hewey and Schmunk each pitched in relief of McMeel in the eighth, and Schmunk closed out the game for the win, striking out three and allowing two hits.
Cumberland left 11 stranded on base, including two in three separate innings and then all three in the 10th.
Prior to the 11th, the Tigers’ biggest threat through came in the top of the sixth, as Nielsen ripped a 2-2 pitch into right for a leadoff single. The senior shortstop advanced to third after a sac bunt by Michael Bush and sac fly by Neeb, but was left stranded on third after Brandon Johnson flew out to right.
Nielsen hit 3-5 in the game to lead Campbellsville, while Cory Urquart led Cumberland with a 3-4 day and a walk. Josciel was 2-4 for the Bulldogs.
Campbellsville returned to action Saturday facing Lindsey Wilson College the winners’ bracket finals of the double-elimination.
The tourney was scheduled to wrap up yesterday.

• • •
Strong lead-off and clean-up hitting and a complete-game shutout were key ingredients Thursday as Campbellsville University advanced past the University of Rio Grande 5-0 in the opening round of the Mid-South Conference Tournament at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Brandon Johnson, hitting in the four-hole, drove in three runs as part of a 3-for-4 day to aid Matt Robertson (3-0) to his first complete game shutout. Robertson’s win is the first decision for the junior pitcher since a March 16 win over Georgetown College.
CU produced runs each inning it had a runner reach third base, hitting .400 in the game with a runner 90 feet from home.
Tanner Nielsen returned to the starting lineup after a five-game absence and led off the bottom of the first with a single to right. With two outs in the inning, Johnson doubled to deep left-centerfield to score Nielsen from third.
Campbellsville loaded the bases in the fifth and seventh innings to add to its lead. In the fifth, Angelo Simmons battled to stay alive with a 1-2 count before singling to right to start the inning. He later scored on a one-out sac fly by Michael Bush.
In the seventh, Travis Hayes singled to start the inning, followed two batters later by Bush reaching on an error. Johnson delivered a one-out double to score two. Levi McCamish, courtesy runner for Keaton Neeb, later scored on a dropped fly ball to right hit by Carlos Torres.
CU hit .430 with runners in scoring position during the game, as it racked up 10 hits and four sacrifices to go along with three walks and three Rio errors.
Hayes matched Johnson’s lead, hitting 3-4 with a run scored, followed by a 2-3 day by Simmons. Torres and Nielsen each had a single for CU.
Robertson allowed only four hits and two walks in the win. Rio runners moved into scoring position only three times, and the RedStorm stranded eight on base. Robertson struck out six.
Vincent Perry led the RedStorm with two hits, while Shane Spies and Chris Ford each had one. Michael Deitsch gave up all five runs, three earned, after giving up nine of the Tigers’ hits.