Series finale set Saturday --
JACKSON, MS -- Angel Concepcion's two-run single capped a four-run fifth inning to tie the contest and Jake Hillier's line out plated the game-winner as Culver-Stockton came from behind the defeat top-ranked Cumberland 7-6, in baseball action Friday at Wills-Smith Stadium.
The Bulldogs (0-2) got the tying and potential winning runs on base in the top of the ninth, but Ryan Dickison and Ryan Simmons both lined out sharply for the final two outs of the game.
Cumberland collected nine hits in the loss, including two apiece from Phil Stiles, Dickison and Tyler Alford, but CU stranded 11 runners as well, the second straight day the club left double-digit runners on base. Hector Viera singled, walked and scored twice out of the leadoff spot and Conor Dishman reached base three times with a single and two walks.
Clint Meadows lasted five innings in the start for the Bulldogs, getting no decision. The senior righthander allowed two earned runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Newcomer Stephen Fischer (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up two runs on five hits in three innings of relief.
Ian Miller, the third Wildcats hurler, picked up the win, allowing one earned run on one hit in three innings. He walked six and struck out four, stranding six baserunners. CSC starter Daniel Smith tossed three innings, giving up three runs on five hits.
The Bulldogs scored four times in the first four innings, including once in the first when Viera led off with a single and stole second. He scored on a Stiles single to left for a 1-0 edge after a half-inning.
In the second Richard Carter drew a leadoff walk and Dickison followed with a single to center. A fielder's choice by Simmons put runners on the corners with two outs and he took second on a delayed steal. Carter scored on the throw and Orlando Collado then doubled home Simmons for a 3-0 advantage.
Culver-Stockton (1-1) cut into the Bulldog lead in the third when Brock Kartheiser drew a two-out walk and scored on Hillier's double to left.
The Bulldogs got the run back in the fourth though, starting with a leadoff double from Dickison, who came across on Alford's single through the right side for a 4-1 lead.
The Wildcats struck for four runs in the fifth on just two hits and one costly CU error.
Brandon Cotter, the CSC leadoff hitter who singled twice and scored three times in the game, was hit with one out and went to second on a passed ball. Alonso Ruz then walked and Kartheiser followed with an RBI single to left. Hillier was then hit, loading the bases.
Meadows induced a grounder to third, but Simmons booted the ball, allowing a run to score. After a strikeout, Concepcion's two-run single put Culver-Stockton ahead for the first time in the contest, 5-4. CSC added another run in the sixth when Cotter singled with one out and moved to second on Ruz's sacrifice bunt. Kartheiser then singled to left, plating the run for a 6-4 CSC advantage.
Cumberland took advantage of a defensive mistake by the Wildcats to knot the score in the seventh.
Viera walked to leadoff and stole second before a walk by Stiles with one out. Dishman also drew a free pass from Miller, loading the bases, and Carter bounced into what could have been an inning-ending doubleplay, but the relay throw to first from CSC's Eli Nieves got away, allowing two runs to score on the play and tying the game at six.
The Wildcats scored the game-winner in the eighth, with Cotter leading off with a double down the leftfield line. Ruz grounded out to second, moving the runner to third, and after Kartheiser was intentionally walked, Hillier lined out to right, plating the go-ahead run for CSC.
The Bulldogs had a chance in the ninth, though, starting with a leadoff walk to Dishman. Pinch-runner Jarrett Plunkett moved to second on a sac bunt from Carter. Culver-Stockton made a defensive switch in the middle of the inning and Dickison's line drive went straight to leftfielder Chris Moussa with the second out.
Alford reached on an error by third baseman Kartheiser, putting runners on the corners, but Simmons lined out to right to end the game.
Cumberland ends the three-game road swing on Saturday at 3 p.m. Central Time against 14th-ranked Belhaven University. The Bulldogs play at 23rd-ranked Tennessee Wesleyan next Wednesday before opening the home schedule next weekend with a three-game series versus No. 9 Missouri Baptist at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium.