Wildcats Stay Alive with 5-1 MEAC Victory over DSU
NORFOLK, Va. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (31-24) stayed alive in the 2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Baseball Championships, collecting their first win in the elimination bracket, Thursday night at Marty L. Miller Field, after holding onto an early lead over the Delaware State Hornets (33-15). The Wildcats battled out the 5-1 victory and earned the opportunity to extend the season at least another day.
“We had a lot of meetings today,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin acknowledged. “Both Coach [Barrett] Shaft and I talked to the team and tried to put things in perspective. I thought they did a great job of responding.”
The pregame discussions clearly struck a chord and the Wildcats wasted no time in putting runs in the scorebook, as Brandon Turner reached base on balls and came home while Eric Sams reached second on misplayed line drive to left field. Later in the frame, PJ Biocic drew the inning’s fourth walk for an RBI and the 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Hornets narrowed the lead briefly to one run in the bottom of the third, capitalizing on a third-out error by the Wildcats.
The Wildcats added to the advantage in the top of the fourth, as Biocic opened the frame reaching as a hit batter. The Wildcats loaded the bases on consecutive bunts, first as Clay Middleton beat a speeder down the line, then Jordan Thomas popped his over the advancing infielders. Josh Johnson capitalized with the game’s second RBI walk and Sams added an RBI on a fielder’s choice. Thomas capped off the scoring, coming home on a wild pitch for the 5-1 advantage.
The game fell to a chess match on the pitcher’s mound through the next five innings as DSU’s Jordan Elliott (5.1) combined with reliever Matt McClain to shut down the Wildcats across the final five frames. Meanwhile, Montana Durapau (9-3) matched their effort, blanking the Hornets for six straight frames before yielding the final out to closer Jordan Dailey, collecting his 11th save and eliminating Delaware State for the second straight year.
“Today it was a night and day difference,” Beverlin said. “We came out with a purpose and did a great job.”
Durapau threw 8 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and one walk with no earned runs, while striking out seven.
“He stepped up big,” Beverlin said. “I think with him, the bigger the situation, he really thrives on that and wants the ball. We needed a performance like that and he really delivered.”
Middleton led all B-CU batters, hitting 3-for-4, while also reaching on a fielder’s choice.
The Wildcats return to action at the MEAC Baseball Championships on Friday for a 2 p.m. face-off with the North Carolina A&T Aggies (16-37), who lost to Coppin State, 7-3, early Thursday evening.
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