Bethune Cookman Wildcats Split Doubleheader With Florida A&M

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Bethune Cookman Sports Information

 

Wildcats drop first conference series of the season at home

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman opened the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) season against rival Florida A&M this weekend at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. In a Saturday afternoon doubleheader, FAMU took the opener, 4-3 in 11 innings. But it was BCU taking the nightcap, 5-1 as the Cats earned a split of the doubleheader, but dropped the series with Friday’s loss on ESPNU.

FAMU 4, BCU 3 (11 innings)

Aubrey McCarty’s 11th inning leadoff home run was the difference Saturday afternoon, as Florida A&M defeated Bethune-Cookman, 4-3 to collect the series in the first of two games played on the day at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida.

McCarty, the Rattlers’ left fielder, took a 0-1 pitch from Bethune-Cookman’s Ivan Coutinho and posted his second home run of the game to give the visiting Rattlers their third consecutive league opening series win over BCU.

Florida A&M (11-3, 2-0 MEAC) opened the game with runs in the second and third innings, respectively.

Rattlers’ first baseman Austin Michaud recorded a sacrifice fly to drive across McCarty for the first score of the game, while teammate Ben Ellzey’s sac fly in the third inning plated Kaycee Reese for the 2-0 advantage.

Bethune-Cookman (8-6, 0-2 MEAC) would cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth.

The bases became loaded with one out as Austin Garcia reach via error; Adonis Lao singled to center; and Demetrius Sims singled through the hole at short. That set the stage for second baseman Trent Nash to collect a RBI sac fly to center field, as Garcia raced home from third.

The Rattlers extended the lead back to two at a 3-1 margin in the top of the sixth with McCarty’s first home run of the game, a shot clear the wall in right.

However, it would be the Wildcats knotting the game at 3-all in the bottom of the frame.

Lao doubled to left and moved over to third on a wild pitch from FAMU starter Ryan Anderson. He would come in to score on the next play when FAMU right fielder Garrett Wilkinson dropped a fly ball off the bat of Sims, allowing the Ann Arbor, Michigan native to make his way to third on the play, as Lao scored easily from third.

The game became tied when sophomore centerfielder Josten Heron laced a single to right, plating Sims on the play.

FAMU had a chance to step ahead in the top of the eighth as runners stood on first and second with nobody out. But it was reliever Ivan Coutinho getting a fly out and back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

Conversely, BCU had a prime opportunity to snag the win in the bottom of the 10th.

The Wildcats had runners on second and third following a single from Cole Parks, as well as Lao reaching on an error through a sacrifice bunt. Rattlers’ reliever Hunter Fillingim then recorded back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout in order to allow McCarty the chance for the winning homer in the top of the next inning.

Fillingim took the win on the mound, moving him to 1-0 on the year. He worked two innings out of the bullpen, allowing a hit and recording the two key strikeouts in the 10th. The loss went to Coutinho (1-1) despite a positive performance from the bullpen. He was tagged with just one run (the McCarty homer) on two hits, a walk and registered five strikeouts.

BCU starter freshman Anthony Maldonado went 6.2 innings in the no-decision outing, giving up three runs on eight hits and striking out four. FAMU starter Anderson went seven frames, giving up three runs (one earned) on seven hits, a walk and six strikeouts.

The Wildcats offense was geared by Lao with a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate. Garcia and Sims each tallied a pair of hits, with Sims also adding a RBI.

However, BCU would leave 12 men on base throughout the contest, including six from the seventh through the 10th innings, respectfully.

BCU 5, FAMU 1

Tyler Norris went the distance on the mound and three Wildcats tallied two hits apiece Saturday evening as Bethune-Cookman took the second leg of a doubleheader from Florida A&M, 5-1 at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida. With the win, BCU avoids the series sweep and ends its season-long three-game losing skid.

Norris, a junior right-hander from Coral Springs, Florida, picked up his third quality start of the season – his second consecutive in a series finale, and was nearly untouchable after allowing two hits in the opening half-inning.

For the third time in two days, Florida A&M (11-4, 2-1 MEAC) would get on the board first.

The Rattlers would open the scoring with a single off the bat of left fielder Dallas Oliver, allowing Aubrey McCarty to score from second. McCarty reached earlier in the inning with a single to right.

Bethune-Cookman (9-6, 2-1 MEAC) quickly answered with three runs in the home-half of the fourth.

Freshman right fielder Bobby Stewart kicked things off with a single, followed by a single from shortstop Demetrius Sims. Chase DeBonis would then collect the first of two hits for the redshirt junior catcher in the game, as he placed a single to shallow right, driving in Stewart on the play. Sims would come in to score in the next at-bat as Nash tallied a RBI groundout to short. The final BCU run crossed after Josten Heron struck out swinging, but reached safely at first as the ball got away from FAMU catcher Russell Rauh, and then his throw to first be wide of first baseman Brian Davis. That allowed DeBonis to score on the play and give BCU the 3-1 advantage.

The Wildcats pushed the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth, adding a pair of insurance runs to secure the win.

Junior left fielder Adonis Lao scored DeBonis and Sims with a two-run double down the line in left.

It would take Norris just eight pitches to close the seventh and earn the win.

Norris went all seven innings on the bump, allowing one run and spreading out five hits with a walk and five strikeouts. In the win, he improved his record to 2-0 on the campaign.

The loss went to starter Aubrey McCarty, evening him at 1-1 on the year. He went five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and picking up three strikeouts.

Sims finished 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs, shadowed by DeBonis with two hits, two runs and a RBI. Lao was 2-for-4 at the leadoff spot, also registering two RBIs.

Bethune-Cookman continues its 15-game homestand Tuesday, March 14, when the Wildcats welcome Fairfield to Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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