Wildcats Use Eighth-Inning Rally to Complete Sweep of FAMU, 3-2
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (6-6, 3-0 MEAC) completed their first series sweep of the 2013 season, taking down the Florida A&M Rattlers (0-11, 0-3 MEAC) with third-game late-inning heroics for the comeback victory at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, opening Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play with a perfect record.
"Having that winning attitude, and knowing that you're going to come back and win games is definitely something you can develop, and I think we are getting there," Head Coach Jason Beverlin said.
After two scoreless and hitless innings, the Rattlers made the first strike as Kendall Weeks singled through the left side, was sacrificed to second and reached third on another single. He came home for the early lead on a groundout, moving Florida A&M ahead 1-0.
FAMU upped their advantage to 2-0 in the sixth, as Ryan Debi hit deep into the left side pocket and beat the throw for the RBI, extending the inning with two away.
The Wildcats began to make their move in the bottom half of the frame, opening with a leadoff walk for David Lee. Anthony Stokes fired a bullet back at the pitcher into center, and a flyout moved Lee to third. Matt Noble put the hosts on the board, slipping a grounder past the FAMU third baseman, narrowing the deficit to 2-1.
The Wildcats continued their push in the eighth, as Modena led off with a triple over the right fielder's glove on the run. After an additional base on balls for Lee, Stokes plated the tie run with a sacrifice fly. Sams followed up with a pulled single through the right side. Noble again delivered in the clutch as he fired a hot shot over third base for an RBI two-bagger, granting B-CU the 3-2 lead.
Jordan Dailey was brought out of the pen to notch his second save, inducing a pair of groundouts and a strikeout to secure the victory and MEAC series sweep for the Wildcats.
"Any time you can get a sweep, it's big," Beverlin said. "We found ways to win, which is important. That's part of the development process."
Starter Anthony stokes pitched a career-high four innings, allowing just three hits and collecting four strikeouts with just one walk, receiving great bullpen support from Christopher Waltermire (2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Byron Ferguson (2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K) to bridge the gap to Dailey. A freshman, Ferguson (1-0) would earn his first collegiate decision on the outing.
Noble topped the team with 2-for-4 batting and a pair of RBI, both in crucial approach situations that would determine the game's outcome. Modena also hit 2-for-4, scoring one run, while Stokes was 1-for-2 with one RBI.
The Wildcats continue their homestand at "The Jack" with a two-game midweek meeting versus Central Michigan (3-7) on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 5-6); both games are slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch. The CMU Chippewas fell to Ohio State, 8-1, Sunday in DeLand, at Stetson's Bright House Tournament.