Danny Rodriguez Homer Lifts Bethune Cookman over Tennessee Tech, 5-4

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Danny Rodriguez registered his second home run of the year courtesy a two-run shot to left field, helping lift Bethune-Cookman to a 5-4 win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday afternoon at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. The win for the Wildcats evened the series after the Golden Eagles took the opener Friday night.

Bethune-Cookman (7-3) trailed 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Junior third baseman Jameel Edney singled to left, allowing Rodriguez to register the come-from-behind two-run shot through a 14mph wind blowing in off the pitch from Tennessee Tech starter Jake Usher.

Bethune-Cookman scored what would eventually be the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh when Rodriguez drove in his fourth run of the day on a single to short. He would beat out the throw from shortstop David Garza, while BCU sophomore Josten Heron continued his run from second and scored on the throw to first.

Tennessee Tech (8-3) brought the lead down to 5-4 in the top of the eighth after the bases became loaded for the Golden Eagles with nobody out.

BCU junior pitcher Ivan Coutinho took over on the mound for classmate Joseph Calamita, immediately getting Garza to strikeout for the first out of the frame. However, third baseman Trevor Putzig would single in the next at-bat, scoring designated hitter Ryan Flick from third. Coutinho settled quickly to get Matt Jones swinging, followed by a fly ball out to Heron in center in order to keep the Golden Eagles at bay.

BCU jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first inning.

After Edney put himself into scoring position with a double to left, senior designated hitter Austin Garcia traded places with him on a RBI double down the line in left. That put the Cats up, 1-0.

Coming into the game hitting .297 as a team, the Golden Eagles responded with three runs in the top of the second inning.

After the first three men reached for Tennessee Tech, BCU starting pitcher Anthony Maldonado would induce the groundball double play from Garza, with the Wildcats defense allowing Flick to score on the play. The Golden Eagles took the lead a play later with Putzig’s RBI single up the middle, crossing Chase Chambers from third for the go-ahead score. The third run scored on a dropped fly that brought Putzig in for the 3-1 advantage.

The Cats answered with a run in the home-half of the third.

Rodriguez would plate right fielder Kyle Corbin on a single to left, after Corbin reached earlier in the frame on a walk. He worked his way into scoring position at second off a groundball out from Edney.

Maldonado, a freshman from West Palm Beach, Florida, earned the win in order to bump his record to 2-1 on the year. He worked five innings on the bump, allowing three runs (two earned) in spreading nine hits, no walks and two strikeouts.

Alexis Herrera allowed just a single hit in two innings out of the bullpen, also collecting a strikeout. And it was Coutinho with his second save of the year, giving up just one hit and striking out four.

The loss was tagged to Tennessee Tech starter Jake Usher, evening his record at 1-1 on the campaign. He worked six frames, giving up four runs on seven hits, a walk and picking up three strikeouts.

The BCU offense was led by Rodriguez’s 3-for-4 afternoon, adding a game-high four RBIs and a run scored. Edney finished with two hits and two runs, while Sims added two hits in three trips, including his second triple of the year and a stolen base.

BCU and Tennessee Tech will meet in the rubber game of the series Sunday at noon back at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

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