Miami Pulls Away From B-CU Late in Series-Splitting 6-1 Loss
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (23-19) were limited offensively in the rematch with Miami (25-15) at Mark Light Field on Wednesday evening, held to just four hits and one run. The Hurricanes broke from a two-run game in the bottom of the eighth using a surge to defeat the Wildcats, 6-1, splitting the series in the 2013 campaign.
“We were right there until the eighth inning, but I thought overall we were a little passive tonight,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin said. “We needed to come out and take the game to them more, like we have been doing a great job of lately.”
The Wildcats struggled at the plate in the early frames, held without a base knock through the third.
The Hurricanes took the first advantage in the bottom of the third, as tough-play single up the middle set the table for designated hitter Alex San Juan’s RBI double to the left center gap, pushing UM ahead 1-0.
B-CU snapped out of its lull in the following frame, as Eros Modena reached on an error, and Anthony Stokes followed up by firing the first pitch he saw through the right side. Modena scored from second two batters later, coming home on a Matt Noble RBI single through the right side.
B-CU opened the home half of the inning with 11-consecutive balls, allowing two batters to reach base after drawing walks. A sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position and a sacrifice fly to right. The ‘Cats allowed one more in the frame, as UM capped off the frame with an RBI walk.
The Wildcats threatened in the seventh, with David Lee taking a one-out double backside deep down the left field line, but two batters later he was stranded on third as the frame closed.
B-CU reliever Christopher Waltermire played hero in the bottom of the seventh, coming out of the bullpen with bases loaded and one out, retiring the Hurricanes via a strikeout and a fly to center, allowing no runs to cross.
However, the Hurricanes took advantage of a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the eighth, as an RBI double to the left center wall jumpstarted a three-run inning for Miami. Later in the frame, a bleeder RBI single and lined RBI single, both to center, gave Miami two more runs, extending the lead to 6-1.
The Wildcats left runners on base in two of the final three innings, with six in the game. Coach Beverlin noted that it wasn’t for a lack of effort.
“Like I told the team, they did a good job of battling,” Beverlin said. “We just didn’t finish off the at-bat. When they did make a mistake, we were still in that battle mode. They got stuck in that mode of protecting, then the guy would make a mistake with something they could handle, and they were still trying to protect instead of being aggressive.”
Leading the Wildcats in their approach tonight was first baseman Anthony Stokes, who hit 2-for-4 on the night. Matt Noble was 1-for-2 with the lone RBI, after drawing a pair of walks.
The biggest obstacle for the Wildcats in the contest was overcoming walks (6) and hit batters (4), which produced three of the scoring base runners for the Hurricanes.
“That definitely hurt us, really giving them runs and not making them earn it,” Beverlin said.
Starter Ali Simpson (3-6) threw 3 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three runs to draw the loss. Simpson walked three and struck out three UM batters.
After falling to the Wildcats in the first meeting, which B-CU won 5-3 on April 3, Javi Salas (4-4) earned the win, pitching seven innings, allowing four hits and one run.
The Wildcats return to action this weekend in the final 2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) series in the Sunshine State, as B-CU takes on the North Carolina A&T Aggies (13-24, 7-7 MEAC) in a neutral site contest at Sanford (Fla.) Memorial Stadium on April 20-21. Games on both days are set for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
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