KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Third-seeded Cumberland (Tenn.) opened a 3-0 lead after two innings, and never looked back, as they got past top-seeded Missouri Baptist, 6-4, on Wednesday afternoon in the 2014 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket.
With the win, the Bulldogs (now 43-19 on the year) forces a winner take all bracket championship game Thursday afternoon at 12 noon (weather permitting) with the Spartans. Missouri Baptist fell to 47-13 with the loss.
In the first, Cumberland took advantage of a Missouri Baptist fielding error, scoring a run on a Sam Lind RBI sacrifice fly to go up 1-0. In the second, the Bulldogs used a two-out rally to plate two more runs, as Chris Hall laced a two-RBI single up the middle to give Cumberland a three-run lead after two innings.
Missouri Baptist cut the Cumberland lead down to a single run in the top of the third with two runs, making it a 3-2 game, but that was the closest the Spartans got to the lead all game. In the sixth, Cumberland put the game away, scoring three runs (all with two outs) to go up 6-2.
MBU scored twice in the seventh to cut the Cumberland lead down to two runs, but that was the last time the Spartans made a run at the lead the rest of the game. In the ninth, Bulldog pitcher Clint Meadows finished off a complete game victory, lifting the Bulldogs to the two-run win.
Overall, Hall paced Cumberland in the win, going 3-for-5 with four RBI and a run scored. Meadows, who went to 7-4 on the year with the victory, went the distance, allowing just two earned runs in nine innings of work.
Missouri Baptist was led in the loss by Orlando Olivera, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Starting pitcher Michael Yarborough (10-1) was tabbed with the loss for the Spartans on the mound.