By TOMMY BRYAN
Cumberland's roller-coaster baseball season took a serious downturn over the weekend as TranSouth Conference rival Bethel swept a three-game series from the Bulldogs at Stockton Field.
With the losses, CU fell to 18-16 overall and a mere 6-6 in the conference. All told, Cumberland has lost four consecutive games heading into today's 2 p.m. home game with Tennessee Wesleyan and has gone 3-7 over the last 10.
NO LIVE RADIO COVERAGE IS PLANNED due to transmitter problems with WCOR AM-1490. Live stats will be available at www.gocumberlandathletics.com.
"We're struggling right now," said CU's Hall of Fame coach Woody Hunt, "our pitching was not good this weekend, our hitting was spotty again -- we could not drive runs in. We've got to get better in all phases.
"I'm kinda worried about the team in areas not actually related to playing. We're fighting our emotions, our mental makeup is fragile. That's what we've got to guard against right now -- we need some confidence."
Unearned runs accounted for both of Sunday's game-winners as Bethel won 9-8 (nine innings) and 5-4 over the Bulldogs.
The visitors took advantage of seven Cumberland errors in the twinbill, plating two runs in the seventh inning of the first game, one unearned, and another unearned run in the ninth to win the opener, 8-7.
In the second game yet another unearned run scored in the sixth inning for a 5-4 victory.
"Baseball can get ahold of you and not let you go until you start doing things well," Hunt said. "It's a game of confidence -- the game has whipped some of our players. They're trying, we just can't produce in the clutch. We can't produce when we need to.
"We've got four tough games this week and we've got to find a way to bounce back. Middle of the week, we've got to protect our pitching staff for the weekend at Union, so Wednesday (against Tennessee Wesleyan) could be an eventful day."
The Wildcats improved to 19-10, 7-2 TranSouth by sweeping the three-game series, the first-ever sweep for Bethel against the Bulldogs.
Contact TOMMY BRYAN at firstname.lastname@example.org