BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union opened the 2014 baseball season with a split decision, winning the first game of the doubleheader with visiting Cumberlands (Ky.) 9-8 before falling 10-6 in the finale on Saturday.
Both Union and Cumberlands are 1-1 on the season.
The Bulldogs struggled to get their offense rolling as they were held to eight total base hits. Union only managed to rap out two hits in 7 1/3 innings against the Cumberlands' starting pitchers.
Union was able to generate a lot of its offense thanks to 18 bases on balls and two hit batters from the Patriot staff.
Game 1 - Union 9, Cumberlands 8
Union rallied late and took advantage of a Cumberlands error to claim the one-run decision.
The Patriots took a 4-0 lead into the fifth when the Bulldogs pushed three runs across. Justin Elder lined a bases-loaded single to put Union's first run on the board, and Miguel Mendez followed with a two-run single to cut the deficit to 4-3.
In the sixth, Union exploded for a five runs to claim an 8-4 advantage. J.D. Burrell delivered the big blow in the inning with a three-run double.
The lead was short-lived as Cumberlands evened the score with a four-run seventh. Jared Martin lined a three-run double of his own to spur the rally. He finished with five RBIs in the game.
Tied at 8-all in the bottom of the seventh, LaVance Anderson led off with a walk before stealing second with no outs. John Wilson then reached safely thanks to a throwing error, which allowed Anderson to score the winning run from second.
Vance Sullivan picked up the win, tossing the final 2/3 innings for Union, allowing one hit. Offensively, Ryan Horvath scored twice in going 1-for-2 with a walk.
Game 2 - Cumberlands 10, Union 6
Cumberlands once again jumped out to a big lead, but this time the Patriots were able to hold off the Bulldogs for the 10-6 lead.
Scoring two in the first and three in the third, Cumberlands took a 5-0 edge into the bottom of the fourth when Union posted a three spot. Tyler Young had the big hit of the inning with a two-run double.
The Patriots tacked on two runs in the fifth and sixth innings for a 9-3 cushion. In the bottom of the sixth, Jared Tomany came through with a three-run home run to left.
But it was too little, too late as Cumberlands added a run in the seventh en route to the 10-6 decision.
Claudio Valencio was the Patriots' offensive star in going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
For Union, Tomany finished 2-for-3 with three driven in. Garrick Whittle suffered the loss.
Union is scheduled to host a three-game set against Davenport (Mich.) on Feb. 7-9. Friday's game is set for a 2 p.m. first pitch.