Bethune Cookmen Cats Takes Series Opener From FGCU, 3-1

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Tyler Norris allowed only one run in six innings of work, and Joe Fernando hit a go-ahead two-run homerun in the fifth inning to give Bethune-Cookman a 3-1 victory in its series opener against Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

Norris started rocky but held the Eagles (6-2) to just a single run as Marc Coffers scored on a Kohl Gilmore single in the top of the first inning.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first, Norris (2-1) stranded two more in the second when he struck out Gilmore looking. He cruised from there by setting down 13 consecutive Eagles and faced the minimum in each frame. The righty left after six innings with five hits, one run, two walks, and seven strikeouts to earn his second consecutive win.

BCU (4-7) grabbed the lead off Eagles starter Mario Leon (1-1) with a two-out rally in the fifth.

Nine-hole hitter Zach Spivey, a transfer from Florida Gulf Coast, reached on a single up the middle and then stole second. Fernando then worked the count full before delivering the game-winning blow on a two-run homer over the left field wall. The second baseman finished the game with three hits and the two runs driven in.

The Wildcats tacked on another run off Leon with a Nate Sterijevski sacrifice fly to center that scored Jameel Edney an inning later.

Leon took the loss with six hits and two earned runs in two innings. He walked one batter and totaled eight strikeouts.

Both bullpens were barely taxed and pitched well. Justin Gill gave up a single hit over two frames for the Eagles, while Ivan Coutinho picked up his second save with a season-best five strikeouts over three shutout innings. He gave up only one hit and walked one batter in relief.

The series resumes tomorrow at 1 p.m. from “The Jack”.

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