PIKEVILLE – One of the best University of Pikeville baseball seasons in 15 years will continue at home in the postseason as the Bears clinched a top-four spot in the Mid-South Conference standings with an 11-1 run-rule win in seven innings over University of the Cumberlands at Johnnie LeMaster Field on Saturday.
The Patriots bounced back with a 7-2 win in the nightcap, but it didn’t slow down the Bears from finishing third in the MSC standings after tying with Cumberland (Tenn.) and Georgetown, two teams it claimed series wins against.
Now UPIKE will earn the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament where it will host sixth-seeded St. Catharine. Dates and times will be announced soon for the weekend series that must take place between April 28 and May 2. The four winners from the host-site series will advance to Bowling Green for a double-elimination tournament.
With the split, Pikeville moved to 24-21 overall and 11-10 in the Mid-South Conference.
Cumberlands moved to 33-20 overall and 9-12 in the MSC.
Pikeville 11, Cumberlands 1 (7 innings): A two home run effort from Mike Peluffo carried UPIKE to an 11-1 win in seven innings over Cumberlands in the opener.
Peluffo drove in five RBIs on his two shots deep over the right-field fence in the second and fourth innings.
Already up 7-1, UPIKE scored four runs in the seventh inning to bring the game to an early close with a 10-run lead. The runs came on an RBI single by Jay Vincent, RBI double from Josh Bailey and another run-scoring single by Travis Haen.
Bryce Carden moved to 8-2 on the season after allowing one earned run, five hits and one walk while striking out four over seven innings of work.
T.J. Campbell was charged with the loss. He allowed seven runs in four innings, walked one and struck out a batter.
The Bears took the lead for good in the second inning when Peluffo rocketed a three-run shot to right and Vincent added an RBI single.
Cumberlands 7, Pikeville 2: Pikeville was only outhit 11-9 in game two, but the Patriots got more done with theirs on the way to a 7-2 win in the nightcap.
Chase Schmittou got the most damage done, going 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Jose Alonzo drove in a run and scored one himself with the game’s only triple.
Bailey and Peluffo were the only Bears with multiple hits, tallying two each, while Bailey had UPIKE’s only RBI.
Aaron Hedgecock took the loss (3-3) after walking four batters and allowing four runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings before handing the game over to A.J. Carkner and Logan Sales to finish things off.
Jeff Rivera claimed the complete-game win, scattering nine hits for two runs with five strikeouts and no walks,
The Patriots scored one run in the first and second innings before sealing the win with two in the fourth as Alonzo drove in one with his triple and Landon Byron added a sacrifice fly.
Cumberlands’ lead eventually ballooned to 7-0 in the top of the seventh, but UPIKE made sure it wouldn’t be shutout with its first two runs in the bottom of the inning. Scottie Whitaker singled in his only at bat and later scored, followed by doubling and scoring on an error.