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CU clinches TSAC title

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LEBANON -- Cumberland University's No. 5-ranked baseball team wrapped up the TranSouth Conference regular season championship Thursday with a doubleheader sweep over Mid-Continent at Stockton Field.

Winning 4-3 in the opener and 3-2 in the nightcap, coupled with Union's 7-3 victory over Trevecca, handed the title to Coach Woody Hunt's Bulldogs.

"We've been through a lot as a team," Hunt said, "our guys kept battling, managed to find ways to win. We hope we've got many more games to play."

Third baseman TJ Murphy hit a pair of two-run home runs, one in each game, to lead Cumberland's offense.

CU (41-12, 19-4 TranSouth) will close out the regular season with the final game of the series against the Cougars at 2 p.m. Friday.

Centerfielder "Boo" Butler, who was named the Music City Star of the Game, capped a 3-for-3 opening game with a sixth-inning, two-out double to left, scoring Daniel Harrison from second for the game-winner.

The late-inning heroics by Butler helped give Bulldog ace Aaron Wilkerson his 11th win in as many starts this season. The Waco, Texas, native worked around four hits and three walks, while striking out nine to pick up his 25th straight decision. One of the walks came in the seventh inning, but Wilkerson got Trevor Buford to line into a game-ending double play.

The second game of the doubleheader started just like the first with Appleton singling to left field before Murphy sent a home run to right field.

Locante kept the Cougars hitless for 4 2/3 innings before back-to-back singles plated two unearned runs. Buford led off the fifth with a grounder to Tommy Crews, who lost the ball on the transfer from his glove. A walk and a sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position with one out before Locante struck out Daniel Edwards. Nathan Lawrence and Adam Connor then produced the only two Mid-Continent hits of the contest, knotting the game at 2-2.

Crews hit a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh, ending a stretch of 13 straight batters retired by Tyler Hall. Fanshawe followed with a single through the right side, forcing Mid-Continent to go to the bullpen. Hunter Burge got Jesse Bowman swinging before Butler drew a walk to load the bases for Appleton, who also took a walk to bring the game-winning run home.

Locante (7-2) struck out six and worked around seven walks to earn the victory.

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