Durapau's Complete Game Shutout Leads B-CU Past FIU, 1-0
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (2-3) picked up their first win inside the confines of Jackie Robinson Ballpark, holding off the FIU Panthers (3-1) for seven innings while clinging to a one-run lead. B-CU came out victorious in the 1-0 victory on the strength of Montana Durapau's first career complete game shutout.
"Montana [Durapau] threw the ball unbelievably," Head Coach Jason Beverlin said. "He was pounding the strikezone and threw his off-speed for strikes against a very aggressive offensive team. He was in total control the whole way. There was never a doubt, even when they had runners on."
"I'm very proud of the whole team the way we stuck with it and pulled that out."
The Wildcats started quickly again in the second, with Eric Sams beating the throw on a well-placed bunt. Matt Noble looked to throw down a sacrifice bunt, but reached base as the baseman bobbled the catch and missing the tag. Josh Johnson logged the third consecutive bunt to load the bases.
A four-pitch Chris Biocic walk brought Sams across the dish, granting the Wildcats the 1-0 lead, which they would hold through the final out.
Backed by solid fielding from every position, Durapau locked in a perfect game through five frames, but FIU left fielder Zach Sweety's infield-splitting single broke up the no-hitter in the sixth, but he was quickly wiped off the bases by C. Biocic's pickoff play. The Panthers would collect two of their three total hits in the inning.
Durapau, who has faced the Panthers four times in the past two seasons, downed nine of the final 10 batters, aided in the eighth by a diving catch from Josh Johnson and a perfect throw-out play Sams going deep into the pocket to snag the grounder.
"That's big," Beverlin said, "especially when you're rolling like that as a pitcher, to know that your defense is going to back you up like they did in such a crucial part of the game."
A junior from Deltona, Fla., Durapau threw his first career complete game and solo shutout (fourth overall), allowing just three hits in nine innings, with four strikeouts and no walks, all while throwing just 90 pitches.
"Getting ahead is huge, to save my pitch count, especially when we don't have as many pitchers as we hoped to have this year," Durapau said. "I knew that if I could go deep, it would definitely help in the weekend series coming up."
The Wildcats made it happen with the 1-0 win, tallying eight hits on the day, but left some runs on the basepath with seven runners left on base in the contest.
Eric Sams continued a solid week (3-for-3 versus North Florida) hitting 2-of-4 and scoring B-CU's lone run, but Josh Johnson led the lineup with 2-of-3 batting. Four other Wildcats collected a hit against FIU.
"He went through a little lull there, but we recruited him because he could swing the bat," Beverlin commented on Sams. "There's no question he's going to do well throughout the entire season."
The Wildcats split the homestand and head back out to face Mercer in a three-game series in Macon, Ga. The Bears are 3-1 after defeating Ohio State, St. John's (N.Y.) and Notre Dame in the Snowbird Baseball Classic, before falling Tuesday to Alabama State, 4-0, the team of former B-CU head coach Mervyl Melendez.
"This part of our schedule is definitely demanding, with all the traveling we're doing, and you mix in school work and lack of sleep. In the end, this is going to make us a better baseball team," Beverlin concluded.