Not even a second run-rule decision could cool down Bethune Cookmen bats, as the Wildcats claimed their second straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Baseball Championship with an 11-1 win over Norfolk State at Delmarva Shorebirds Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Maryland.
Demetrius Simms, Jameel Edney and Danny Rodriguez drove in two runs apiece in what was an offensive onslaught by the MEAC champions, who automatically qualified for the NCAA tournament with the victory.
Bethune Cookmen wasted little time getting on the board. Simms opened the bottom of the first-inning by reaching base on a single, and Adonis Lao walked before Edney ripped a single to right field, scoring Simms. Danny Rodriguez singled home both Lao and Edney for a 3-1 lead.
Bethune Cookmen added more runs in the bottom of the second-inning. Chase DeBonis doubled and Simms also doubled scoring DeBonis. Lao singled advancing Simms to third and scored on a wild pitch from Norfolk State starter Brian Beard. Edney’s second single and second RBI of the game scored Lao. Austin Garcia doubled home Edney for a 7-1 lead after the second inning.
The Cats broke the game wide-open from there.
BCU scored two runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a Nate Sterijevski single. Simms’ second run scoring RBI single plated Sterijevski. Simms stole second base and scored on a Lao single to left field to score Simms. The floodgates did not stop there. In the bottom of the six-inning, Edney reached base on a walk, advanced to second on a Rodriguez single, reached third on a fielder’s choice, then stole home on a double steal which paced two more two-run scoring innings during the contest.
For Bethune Cookmen, the focus now turns to Monday May 29, 2017 selection show for the NCAA tournament, as BCU will be hoping for a national seed.
In my opinion, Bethune did a good job of hitting, fielding and pitching. Donte Lindsey pitched lights out yielding just four hits to Norfolk State. Lindsey, for the day, gave up one run, four hits, no earned runs while striking out six.
Bethune Cookmen will certainly go into the tournament on a hot streak, having won 8 of its last 10 games. They have certainly earned the 2017 MEAC Championship. They are a battle tested team and their strength of schedule ranks 7th in the nation against non-conference opponents.