WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. - Senior first baseman Tyler Brake (Burlington, Ky.) delivered a grand slam in the top of the ninth to lift the Union baseball team to a 7-3 season-opening win over host Cumberlands (Ky.) on Monday.
This marks the third year in a row the Bulldogs (1-0 overall) won their season opener. It is the second year in a row Union has opened the season with a win on the road, defeating Lee (Tenn.) 9-3. Prior to that, Union last opening the season with a road win was in 2008 at Atlanta Christian (Ga.).
The Bulldogs were limited to six hits on the day with no one having more than one. However, Union benefited from nine walks and three hit batters.
Drew Hillard (Lexington, Ky.) picked up win, tossing 2 1/3 innings of one-hit baseball to close out the game. Jordan Cruz Del Olmo took the loss for the Patriots (0-1 overall).
Trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth, Union had the bases loaded with two outs when Brake sent a 2-1 offering from Del Olmo over the right-field fence. Despite having the three-run lead, the Bulldogs were not finished as Miguel Mendez (Lansing, Mich.) reached on a walk and later scored on Ben Hartley's (Lexington, Ky.) run-scoring single to make it 7-3.
Hillard got Cumberlands to go down in order in the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory.
By the Numbers
- Union was a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. Last season, Union stole four or more bases only 11 times out of 56 games and was perfect six of those times.
- Despite only garnering six hits, the Bulldogs made the Patriot pitching staff work hard. The six Cumberlands hurlers combined to throw 189 pitches in the nine-inning game, while Union's four pitchers threw 119.
- The Bulldogs drew nine or more walks four times last season, going 3-1 in those contests.
- The four-bagger was Brake's 13th of his career.
Union will play its home opener on Friday at 2 p.m. as it welcomes Davenport (Mich.) to Jerry W. Carey for a three-game series this weekend. The Bulldogs are 1-0 lifetime against the Panthers, winning the only meeting 5-2 on Feb. 13, 2011, in Barbourville.