K-State Finale Called in Seventh, Wildcats Fall, 6-3
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (12-14) played with greater intensity in Saturday’s series finale at Kansas State (16-8), but found themselves trailing 6-3 when the game was called for snow at Tointon Family Stadium, despite an improved hitting performance.
“I think we rebounded well after a disappointing two games yesterday,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin said. “It wasn’t perfect, but at the same time, I was proud of the way we came ready to play.”
With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, the snow began to fall just before the opening frame; B-CU’s first encounter with wintry precipitation in seven seasons. However, the Wildcats overcame the elements early, bringing the bats from the very first pitch.
“Yesterday, we really let the cold and the conditions outside bother us and affect the way we played,” Beverlin noted. “Today they came out and did the best they could, and really didn’t let the conditions affect the way we played.”
Designated hitter Josh Johnson squared up the initial pitch with a base hit up the middle. After stealing second, Johnson reached third on a Brandon Turner backside single, and crossed the dish with assistance from Eros Modena’s sacrifice fly to center. Turner added a stolen base as well, reaching third on David Lee’s full-count single.
Cleanup batter Anthony Stokes reached on an error by the KSU shortstop, allowing Turner to come home for the 2-0 B-CU lead after the first frame.
Kansas State responded in the home half of the third, taking advantage of B-CU miscues, with Tanner Witt putting up a single, and reaching third after a walk and an infield error, scoring on a second Wildcats’ error. A third and final B-CU error allowed two more unearned runs to cross the plate, and a balk advanced a runner home to grant KSU a 4-2 lead.
After scoring the initial B-CU run, Johnson added an RBI single to shortstop in the top of the fourth, beating the throw, using consecutive singles by Chris Biocic and Shaun McCarty to set the table, narrowing the deficit to a single run.
The snow began to intensify late in the contest and KSU tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the fourth and the sixth, taking a 6-3 lead over B-CU.
The weather had begun to cause visibility problems for the hitters on both teams and the umpires called the game in the middle of the seventh, granting Kansas State the victory and the series sweep.
“The big thing is we’ve just got to continue to build on that, and improve both physically and mentally,” Beverlin concluded.
Johnson led the Wildcats at the plate, batting 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored. Modena and Stokes added RBI.
Starter Scott Garner (2-3) took the loss, pitching 5 1/3 innings.
The Wildcats return to action back in the Sunshine State on Tuesday, traveling to Jacksonville to face North Florida (18-7). The UNF Ospreys have won three straight and wrap their conference series with Lipscomb on Sunday. The Wildcats faced the Ospreys on Feb. 19, falling 4-2 after UNF pulled away in the top of the ninth at Jackie Robinson Ballpark
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