Bethune Cookman Wildcats Walk Off Stetson In 11 Innings

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Danny Rodriguez’s 11th-inning home run allowed Bethune-Cookman to complete an epic comeback and defeat Stetson, 9-8 on Tuesday evening at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. With the win, BCU has now won the last two meetings between the two Volusia County schools.

Trailing 8-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, Bethune-Cookman (5-2) scored seven unanswered runs in its next two at-bats, forcing extra innings and setting the stage for the eventual heroics from Rodriguez.

Stetson (4-5) went with relief pitcher Mitchell Senger to start the bottom of the eighth inning.

Rodriguez, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Preseason Player of the Year, began the Wildcats eighth inning at-bat with his third double of the game. He would finish with three doubles off three separate Stetson pitchers. The Rodriguez double was followed by Austin Garcia being hit by a pitch, and later a Demetrius Sims’ single through the left side to load the bases.

Junior left fielder Jordan Stacy delivered the first RBI single of the frame for the Cats, placing a single to shallow left that drove across Rodriguez for the first of six runs in the half-inning. Catcher Chase DeBonis drew a bases loaded walk on the next play to score pinch runner Cole Parks from third, as he was in for the designated hitter Garcia.

That forced Stetson to go back to the bullpen for Joey Gonzalez in relief of Senger.

Adonis Lao, a junior college transfer from Southeastern Community College, pinch hit for Josten Heron, with the Elmhurst, New York native delivering a two-run scoring single past the glove of third baseman Jordan Morrow. The single crossed Sims and Stacy, cutting into the Hatters advantage at 8-5.

Wildcats second baseman Nate Sterijevski would collect an RBI groundout to third – driving across DeBonis, followed shortly by a RBI single from Rodriguez to score Lao and bring the Maroon and Gold to within 8-7 heading to the ninth inning.

In the ninth, BCU would tie it up when Lao plated his second RBI single of the game, this one off Onyshko in his first batter faced, scoring Sims and knotting the game at 8-all.

Stetson threatened in the top of the 11th inning when pinch hitter Kirk Sidwell singled to right, followed by an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt from first baseman Charlie Watters, allowing him to reach safely at first and move Sidwell 90 feet to second. That prompted BCU sixth-year head coach Jason Beverlin off the bench, and turning towards closer Joseph Calamita out of the bullpen.

The bases would become loaded for the visiting Hatters with just one out.

BCU third baseman Jameel Edney fielded a grounder from Ben Rowdown, firing home to DeBonis to cut down Sidwell at the plate for the second out of the inning. Austin hale flied out to end the top-half of the 11th and keep the game tied.

Rodriguez took the first pitch from Onyshko in the home-half of the frame in order to earn the BCU win, and ending a two-game skid for the Cats from the weekend in a series at Florida Gulf Coast.

Stetson jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning, chasing BCU pitcher TJ Densmore in his first collegiate start on the bump. Densmore finished his night with three innings worked, giving up four runs on five hits, two walks and two strikeouts in the no-decision outing.

BCU brought a run back in the fourth inning when designated hitter Garcia registered a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Edney to score from third and bringing BCU to within 4-1.

Stetson would increase its lead at 7-1 in the top of the fifth courtesy an Austin Bogart three-run home run clear the wall in left. Another run in the seventh made it 8-1 in favor of the Hatters.

Onyshko (1-2) took the loss in 1.1 innings pitched out of the pen, allowing the one home run from Rodriguez. Bogart would fail to factor into the decision in a starting role, despite working four innings, allowing a run on a hit, two walks and two strikeouts.

Calamita (1-0) would earn the win for the Cats with an inning worked and just one hit allowed – that a single off the umpire at third base, loading the bases for the Hatters in the top of the 11th. Freshman Bobby Stewart worked 1.1 innings in a relief effort, not allowing a hit in his first collegiate action on the mound.

BCU’s Coutinho finished with two innings pitched, allowing four hits, two walks and a pair of strikeouts.

Rodriguez continued his hitting streak at four games with a perfect 5-for-5 night with the bat, finishing a triple short of the cycle. He registered three doubles, a single and the home run with two runs and two RBIs. Additionally, he stretched his on-base streak to 17 games dating back to last season.

Lao finished 2-for-2 at the plate with three RBIs and two runs, while teammate Stacy collected two hits a run and a RBI of his own for the Cats.

Bethune-Cookman hosts Jacksonville on Wednesday, March 1, back at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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