KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Missouri Baptist starting pitcher David Mullins tossed a complete game, striking out nine to lead the top-seeded Spartans to a 5-2 victory over third-seeded Cumberland (Tenn.) at the 2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket on Tuesday.
With the win, MBU (now 47-12 on the year) is now just one victory away from advancing onto the 2014 Avista-NAIA World Series, next playing at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Cumberland fell to 41-19 with the loss, and will face elimination in the first game of the day on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
It was a relatively quiet game for both teams entering the fifth inning, as Cumberland held a slim 1-0 lead over MBU. In the bottom of the frame, the Spartans struck, scoring two runs to take the lead at 2-1. The big hit of the inning was notched by Josh Fuentes, who laced an two-RBI double down the right field line with two outs, giving MBU the lead.
The Spartans added a single run in the sixth to go up 3-1, then two more runs in the eighth to take an insurmountable 5-1 lead entering the ninth. That was all Mullins needed to work with, as he held Cumberland scoreless for six straight innings, until allowing a solo home run in the ninth.
But, that was all the Bulldogs could muster in the frame, as the Spartans rolled on in the tournament with the three-run victory. With the win, Mullins improved to 8-1 on the year, as well.
Overall, Fuentes led the way at the dish for MBU, recording the lone multiple-hit day for the squad, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Meanwhile, Erik Garcia recorded two RBI on the day without registering a hit.
Cumberland was led in the loss by Tyler Anderson, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Bulldog starter Anthony Gomez (5-4) took the loss in the game, striking out five in eight innings of work.