JACKSON, Tenn. - 5/6/2009 - The Union University Bulldog baseball team remained perfect in the 2009 TranSouth Conference Baseball Tournament with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Cumberland (Tenn.) University. Union, the fifth seed in the tournament, moved to 35-17 on the season with their third straight comeback win in the tournament. Cumberland, the regular season champion and top seed in the tournament, dropped to 32-23 on the year.
Freshman starter for Union and former Madison Academic standout, Jeremy Stack, earned the win with a gutsy performance on the mound. Stack (7-3) made his second appearance in the tournament after earning a save in Union's 3-1 win over Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) in the opening round.
Stack got the start and was given a quick lead of 2-0 when Josh Jones drove a two-run homer over the left field fence in the top of the first inning. However, after quick innings from Stack in the first and second frames, Cumberland made some noise in the third. Clint Alexander led off with a homerun, followed by a homer by Kyle West on the very next pitch to tie the game. Cumberland put two more runners on base, but then with two outs, it looked as if Union would get out of the inning. However, a throwing error allowed both runners to score, putting Cumberland up 4-2.
The score stayed at 4-2 until Union tallied a run in the top of the seventh when freshman Clint Barnes doubled, and then scored on an error later in the inning.
As in each of the previous two games, Union trailed going into the eighth inning. After Union failed to scoring in the eighth, Union's defense came up big in the bottom of the eighth inning. A lead-off single from Cumberland was erased when Union turned a double play to keep the score at 4-3.
In the top of the ninth, Union head coach Brent Fronabarger pinch-hit Kevin Kirksey, who earned the win in relief on Tuesday night. Kirksey promptly singled to left field. Barnes then re-entered to run for Kirksey. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out to first, Barnes stood at third base with two outs. Union then posted three straight two-out hits in the inning, with Alex Turner and Jones each recording an RBI to give Union the lead at 5-4.
In the bottom of the ninth, Stack allowed the first two runners to reach on a single and a walk to the first two hitters. Danny Alberty relieved Stack in hopes of earning the save. The senior Alberty made short work of the Cumberland Bulldogs as he faced just two batters, getting a double play, followed by a strikeout to end the game.
Stack tossed 8.0 innings, allowing four runs, only two of which were earned, on nine hits while striking out eight batters. Cumberland's James Parker was just as impressive in the no decision with seven innings of work, allowing three runs, two earned, on nine hits and nine strikeouts. Adam Sprague (5-5) took the loss in relief, allowing two runs on two hits with one strikeout in two innings of work.
Union advances to the championship game on Thursday, May 7 versus Trevecca Nazarene at 12:00 pm. Union will need just one win to claim the title, while Trevecca Nazarene must defeat Union twice to win the crown. Both teams are fighting for the league's automatic bid to the NAIA Baseball National Tournament Opening Round.
Union's only TranSouth tournament title came in 2002. Cumberland had won each of the last three and five of the last six tournament titles.
2009 TranSouth Conference Baseball Tournament
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