With the victory the Phoenix (35-21) advanced to face fourth-ranked Campbellsville University in the winner’s bracket of the conference tournament.
Brigid Antonelli’s two-out RBI single in the first inning gave the Phoenix an early lead and a two-run single by Kayala Hoppenjans and a two-run triple from Taylor Woodring put Cumberland ahead, 5-2. Tawnee Hegre’s RBI triple made it 6-2 in the fifth, but the Bears plated two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Cumberland sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh inning, starting with a single by Paolo Del Valle before Hoppenjans and Woodring were both hit, loading the bases. Tyra Graham’s sacrifice fly plated Del Valle and a walk to Imani Torregano loaded the bases again.
Caplinger cleared the bases with her double to left and Antonelli added an RBI single, extending the CU lead to 11-4.
Morgan Arndt (13-10) allowed four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in four innings to get the win. Alexa Snyder worked the final three innings for her second save, giving up one run on no hits.
Tatum Wise (11-12) suffered the loss for Shawnee State, allowing eight runs on 13 hits.
Graham led off the game with a single and she moved to second on Torregano’s sacrifice bunt. Caplinger singled to center, putting runners on the corners, and Antonelli’s single to right plated a run. Hegre walked, loading the bases, but Courtney Miles bounced into a 5-2-3 double play to end the inning.
Katlyn Gleich was hit to start the second inning for the Bears and Haley Rawlins walked before a single by Victoria Bevington, but Gleich was thrown out at the plate by Woodring. Michal Cunningham delivered for Shawnee State, though, with a two-run single to right for a 2-1 SSU advantage.
Caplinger, Antonelli and Miles all singled for the Phoenix in the third inning, loading the bases. With two outs Hoppenjans singled home a pair of runs and Woodring followed with a two-run triple to left put Cumberland back in the lead, 5-2.
In the fourth Caplinger walked and moved to second on Antonelli’s sac bunt. Hegre then tripled to center, plating Caplinger for a 6-2 CU lead.
The Bears cut into the deficit in the bottom of the inning with a walk to Rawlins and a triple by Cunningham, who later scored on a wild pitch, making it 6-4 Cumberland before the Phoenix broke the game open in the seventh.