Lebanon, Tenn. – Mid-South Conference opponent, Cumberland University (Tenn.), entered Tuesday afternoon's matchup with the No. 21 Bryan College Baseball Team coming off a five-game win streak that began with an 11-7 upset of then 8th ranked Georgia Gwinnett College on Apr. 9, but the Lions showed that they are a force to be reckoned with as they led by as much as 8-1 at one point in the contest. Big innings in the fourth and fifth for the Phoenix helped them soar their way back into the game before Bryan tacked on one run in the top of the fifth and a pair in the sixth inning. Cumberland entered the bottom of the frame and managed to produce one run, but the rain ended the game short that allowed the Lions to earn the 11-9 victory and improve to 31-13 overall while the Phoenix fell to 23-25 this season.
Austin Parrish (JR/Ringgold, Ga) tossed two innings and allowed just one hit, one walk, and notched one strikeout in his start on the mound en route to his second win on the year. He was relieved by Tristan Legault (SO/Mascouche, Quebec) who saw two innings of work and scattered seven hits, four runs, two walks, and one K. Zane Glass (JR/Murfreesboro, Tenn.) closed the last two frames and surrendered five hits, five walks, walked three, and struck out two.
Trevor Behrent (JR/Catawissa, Pa.), Brookes Jones (SR/Franklin,Tenn.), Mikey Rita (JR/Kalaheo, HI), and Tyler Scott (FR/Calgary, Alberta) each turned in a multi-hit performance with two hits apiece. Behrent doubled in the game and matched Lake Burris (SO/Chatsworth, Ga.) for a team-high three runs batted in. He also tied Wade Weinburger (FR/James Cistern, Bahamas) with two runs scored, which was the most by any Lion in the game. Jones scored one run, Rita aided with two RBI's, Scott had both a run and RBI, and all three recorded one double, respectively. Justin Morhardt (JR/Winsted, Conn.) and Burris went deep in the game with one homerun apiece. Fernando Garcia (JR/Kissimmee, Fla.) had a double on his lone hit and ended with one RBI and one run scored. Kila Zuttermeister (JR/Kailua, HI) was the only other Lion to tally a hit, finishing 1-of-3 with one run scored. As a team, Cumberland narrowly edged out Bryan 13-12.
In the top of the first, leading off for the Lions was Morhardt. He watched the first pitch of the game cross the plate and then the second as the count grew to 1-1. The third pitch was the charm as he grabbed ahold of the ball and drove it over the fence in right-center to provide Bryan with an early 1-0 advantage.
The Lions kept the momentum going in the second inning when Zuttermeister led off with a single ripped to center, a single by Jones that advanced Zuttermeister to scoring position at third, and was capped by an RBI single from Scott to put Bryan on top 2-0.
The lead grew to 3-0 at the start of the top of the third when Weinburger reached base on a misplayed grounder before being sent home by Behrent who slotted a double to deep left-center.
Four singles in the bottom of the third helped the Phoenix break their silence and cut the deficit to 3-1.
Bryan did their most damage in the top of the fourth inning when the rally began by Scott doubling down the left field line. Morhardt was intentionally walked and handed over the base-running duties to courtesy runner, Prentice Young (SR/Oak Ridge, Tenn.). Weinburger followed and watched as four consecutive balls were thrown to him, which loaded the bases. Behrent wouldn't allow Cumberland the last out needed to retire the Lions, and instead, he delivered a single up the middle. The hit plated both Scott and Young while advancing Weinburger to third. The 5-1 lead felt comfortable for Bryan, but Burris continued to apply pressure when he cleared the bases with a three-run bomb to left, extending the advantage to 8-1.
With runners on, back-to-back doubles by the Phoenix in the bottom of the frame helped counter with three runs to close the gap to 8-4.
Jones and Rita kept the doubles raining down with one apiece in the top of the fifth inning, which gave way to Jones scoring for a 9-4 lead.
Glass took over the reigns in the bottom of the fifth inning, and it didn't take long for Cumberland to rattle him as three walks, a wild pitch, a hit by pitch, and a double allowed the Phoenix to four runs, which made the game a one-run difference at 9-8.
The difference maker for the Lions was in the top of the sixth inning when Behrent reached on a walk, advanced to second on a wild throw, and then scored on Garcia's double that sailed to right-center. A fly out by Jones set up Garcia for another run at third, and it was Rita who provided the punch with a single to shallow left. Garcia scored to make it 11-8.
Cumberland gave it their best effort to complete the comeback in the bottom of the sixth with four singles in a row to start things off. The Phoenix scored one run to come within two at 11-9, while still having bases loaded and no outs. Glass was poised and hurled a clutch strikeout before Cumberland lined out to first and the Lions caught a runner off the base to complete the double play that ended the game and sealed the win. The game was called at the conclusion of the sixth inning due to rain.
Bryan continues road play with a meeting in Pulaski, Tenn. Wednesday, Apr. 19, as the RedHawks of Martin Methodist College host the Lions at 3pm.
For a complete look at the Bryan Lions Baseball schedule, click here.