B-CU Goes Wild In Rally Win

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Robinson’s triple Setup The Walk-Off Win For The Wildcats

 

DI/MEAC/Baseball

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday to complete a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Savannah State inside Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. With the win, the Wildcats complete a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference series sweep of the Tigers in the first-of-two series showdowns between the MEAC Southern Division’s top two teams.

Courtesy B-CU Athletics

With both teams unable to manufacture runs, starting pitchers Tyler Norris (Bethune-Cookman) and Zach McCormack (Savannah State) went head-to-head in a true pitcher’s duel for much of Sunday’s contest.

Bethune-Cookman (10-21, 9-3 MEAC) looked to start fast in the opening inning, as Nathan Bond worked a walk, followed by Jordan Robinson’s single to third. However, McCormack settled in for what would be a long outing, as he got José Carballo to strike out, ending any sort of a threat.

Savannah State (12-16, 6-6 MEAC) seemed to finally get to Norris in the top-half of the sixth when first baseman Charles Sikes singled to left, allowing leadoff hitter Hector Benitez to advance to third after he drew a walk moments earlier. Norris then got the hard-swinging Zachary Brigham to fly out to right, keeping the scoreboard clean in the runs column through six complete on the mound for the freshman right-hander from Coral Springs, Florida.

Brigham entered the weekend as one of the MEAC’s top hitters with an average above .380. He would finish the weekend 0-11 against the Wildcats pitching staff.

In the seventh inning, SSU finally got to Norris for the first two runs of the game.

Richards drew a four-pitch walk, followed up by a single through the right side from Jonathan Moore on a hit-and-run, allowing Richards to advance all the way to third on the play. That spawned B-CU fourth-year head coach Jason Beverlin to bring in Michael Austin out of the bullpen, ending Norris’ day in registering his second quality start of the year.

Austin got Harrison Moore to fly out to center, but the ball was driven deep enough to score Richards from third on the sac fly, pushing the Tigers in front, 1-0. The lead became 2-0 when Somto Egbuna singled through the right side, plating Jonathan Moore from third.

The Wildcats finally touched up McCormack in the home-half of the eighth.

With Austin Garcia singling and catcher Zach Olszewski reaching after being hit by a pitch, B-CU had the bases loaded with two outs. Second baseman Brandon Wilkes then drew a walk from McCormack, allowing Carballo to score from third, cutting into the deficit, 2-1.

SSU reliever Rex Davis came on to get the final out on a ground ball to third.

After Austin worked a scoreless top-half of the ninth, the home-half supplied all the drama needed in the last game of the 2015 season for the Wildcats at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

With Bryant Munoz getting on via base on balls, a two-out rally ensued for the Wildcats.

Munoz stole second and then advanced to third on an overthrow from SSU catcher Ryan McCranie trying to cut down Munoz at second base. That is when Robinson, a redshirt senior from Ft. Pierce, Florida, drove a deep triple to the left centerfield wall, scoring Munoz and placing himself 90 feet away as the game-winning run.

As Carballo looked to be the hero, digging in to face Davis, the bat never left his shoulder. The first pitch he saw was past the glove of catcher McCranie, and far enough away that Robinson was able to race in and slide home for the walk-off win.

After both starters registered quality starts, neither would factor into the decision. Norris went six complete, giving up two runs on four hits, walking three and striking out four. Countering was McCormack, going 7.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits with five walks and three strikeouts.

Austin earned the win out of the bullpen, upping his record to 2-1 on the year. Meanwhile, Davis took the loss for SSU, dropping his record for the season at 1-3.

Austin finished the game working three frames, spreading out two hits and striking out two.

The B-CU offense was sparked by Robinson with three hits, including the game-tying RBI triple, and scoring the game-winning run. Garcia also had a multi-hit day, going 2-for-4 at the plate.

Bethune-Cookman has now won seven consecutive MEAC games, and will look to keep its current three-game winning streak intact when traveling to Miami to face FIU on Tuesday, March 31, at 6 p.m. The Cats will stay in Dade County the following day, taking on the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday, April 1, at 6 p.m.

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