Bethune Cookman Wildcats Stay Hot With 13-7 Win At Florida Gulf Coast





Bethune Cookman Sports Information


FORT MYERS, Fla. – Kyle Corbin collected three hits while four different Wildcats posted two hits apiece on Friday night, as Bethune-Cookman defeated Florida Gulf Coast, 13-7 in non-conference baseball action at Swanson Stadium. Friday night’s game served as the first game of a three-game set between the Eagles and Wildcats.

Bethune-Cookman (4-0) head coach Jason Beverlin knew the visiting Wildcats would have to get to Florida Gulf Coast starting pitcher Kenton Hering early-on in order to try and rattle the red-hot Eagles and their star-studded right-hander. Appropriately, that’s exactly what the Wildcats were able to do. 

A two-out rally began for BCU when freshman left fielder Bobby Stewart (Naples, Fla.) walked, and then advanced to second base on a passed ball. After catcher Chase DeBonis (Tampa, Fla.) walked in the next at-bat, sophomore centerfielder Josten Heron (Miami, Fla.) laced a RBI single through the right side, scoring Stewart for the early 1-0 lead. DeBonis would later score when junior right fielder Kyle Corbin (Orlando, Fla.) recorded a RBI single to center, putting BCU up, 2-0. 

The Wildcats continued the scoring in the top-half of the third inning, placing six all-important runs on the board. 

Stewart would reach safely for the second time in the game on an error charged to FGCU (4-2) first baseman Corey Fehribach with the bases loaded, allowing sophomore first baseman Danny Rodriguez (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) to score from third. A wild pitch in the next at-bat allowed Austin Garcia (LaBelle, Fla.) to up the score at 4-0, before Corbin registered a RBI single to right that crossed Demetrius Sims (Ann Arbor, Mich.). 

With BCU up 5-0, Nate Sterijevski (Clermont, Fla.) delivered a sacrifice fly to deep right, crossing Stewart for the 6-0 lead in favor of the Maroon and Gold. The lead swelled to 8-0 when Corbin and DeBonis scored on an error charged to Eagles shortstop Julio Gonzalez. 

FGCU battled back for two runs in the bottom-half of the third with a two-run homer to left center from catcher Spencer Levine, cutting into the BCU lead, 6-2. 

However, the visiting Wildcats rallied for more two runs in the top-half of the next inning, using a sac fly from Stewart and an error to score Sims and Garcia, respectively, advancing the BCU lead back to eight, 10-2. 

After the Cats added another pair of runs in the top of the fifth courtesy a Corbin RBI single to left that scored Heron, as well as a RBI single from third baseman Jameel Edney (West Palm Beach, Fla.), homestanding Florida Gulf Coast scored four to get themselves back into the game at 12-7 in favor of BCU. 

The Cats added an insurance run in the top of the eighth with a RBI single from Stewart, the 2016 FHSAA Class 7-A Player of the Year from Naples High, allowing Edney to score for the first time in the game and run the score to the final 13-7 score line. 

BCU starter Tyler Norris (Coral Springs, Fla.) went 4.1 innings in the start, but failed to factor into the decision for the Wildcats. The junior right-hander allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits, two walks and a strikeout on the night. 

However, the win was collected by freshman Isaak Gutierrez (Norwalk, Calif.), as the rookie worked the final 4.2 innings out of the bullpen, and bumped his record to 1-0 on the year. He would scatter two hits in his time on the mound, not surrendering a run in the process. 

The loss went to FGCU starter Hering, evening his record at 1-1 on the campaign. He was tagged for eight runs (five earned) on seven hits, three walks and six strikeouts in just three innings on the bump. He was relieved by three Eagles, including a four-inning effort from Parker Hamilton who allowed two runs on four hits and added four strikeouts. 

The Wildcats offense was paced by Corbin with three hits, three RBIs and two runs. Four additional Wildcats collected two hits each, including Sterijevski, Sims, Rodriguez and Heron. Stewart matched Corbin with three RBIs on the night in his first collegiate start. 

Bethune-Cookman and Florida Gulf Coast continue the weekend’s three-game series with game two on Saturday at 1 p.m., back at Swanson Stadium.

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