Will Locante struck out a career-best 14 in seven innings, allowing just one hit, and Cumberland belted three home runs, as the fifth-ranked Bulldogs defeated William Jewell, 11-1, on Thursday night in the 2011 McDonald’s NAIA Championship Opening Round here at Brooks Stadium.
Cumberland (44-14) advances to play Tennessee Wesleyan in the winner’s bracket Friday at 2 p.m. William Jewell (34-20) plays Friday at 6:30 p.m. against either Bellevue University or Southern Poly.
Locante (8-2) was dominant from the start, striking out eight of the first 12 batters in the contest and throwing a perfect game until a leadoff single to center from Joe Summers in the sixth inning. The lefthander did not walk a batter and threw just 84 pitches to pick to pick up his seventh straight victory.
Tommy Crews went 4-for-4 with a double, home run and three RBIs, while T.J. Murphy, Mike Mandarino, David Fanshawe and Cory Farris all collected two hits apiece for the Bulldogs. Tommy Winegardner hit a towering home run and Mandarino added his 18th round-tripper of the year for CU, who scored three runs in the third and four more in the fifth to take control of the contest.
WJC starter Drew Mitrisin (9-2) lasted four innings, allowing nine runs, five earned, on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
The Bulldogs got on the board with a run in the first after Murphy beat out a bunt and Mandarino laced a double into the leftfield corner. Murphy came all the way around to score on the play.
Crews doubled to leadoff the CU second and scored on Fanshawe’s single to center.
Cumberland made a two-out error by the Cardinals hurt in the third inning. Winegardner’s chopper was booted by Summers at third base before Mandarino drew a walk. Crews then ripped the first pitch over the wall down the leftfield line, his 10th homer of the year, giving the Bulldogs a 5-0 advantage.
CU added to the lead in the fifth, taking advantage of another WJC miscue.
Greg Appleton led off with a walk and Mitrisin bobbled Murphy’s sacrifice attempt. Winegardner then unloaded a towering homer to deep leftfield, his eighth of the year. Mandarino followed with a solo shot, his 18th of the season, giving the Bulldogs a 9-0 edge.
Richie Seaton drove in a run for Cumberland with a groundout in the seventh and Farris’ double in the ninth plated Crews with the club’s final run of the contest.
William Jewell got on the board in the ninth when JP Bartmess was hit, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and came across on a wild pitch.