Late-Game Rally Falls Short in 4-3 Loss at Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Although Bethune-Cookman (17-19) jumped out to the early lead, the Jacksonville Dolphins (11-21) responded in kind and contained B-CU until late in the game, holding off a late push to hold the Wildcats in a 4-3 game on Wednesday night at Sessions Stadium.
The Wildcats showed early aggressive play to take an early lead, as shortstop Shaun McCarty reached on an infield bloop single in the third. Center fielder Eros Modena brought him in on and RBI single up the middle to give B-CU a 1-0 advantage.
The Dolphins fired back with home runs beyond the expansive 340-foot left field wall in both the bottom of the third and fourth for Cameron Gibson and Dylan Dillard, respectively, to take the 2-1 lead.
Facing reliever Michael Thomasson, the Dolphins opened the sixth inning with a walk and a single for Gibson and Connor Marabell, both scoring in the frame to push the Dolphins out to a 4-3 lead.
Using multiple pitchers, the Dolphins kept the Wildcat off the board and without a hit for four frames. However, in the eighth, facing JU’s Nathan Disch in relief, the Wildcats took three consecutive walks to load the bases. Subbing in first as a pinch hitter, then at third base, Austin Garcia fired a line drive over shortstop to bring in Eric Sams and Josh Johnson to narrow the deficit to one run.
Ryan Quintero took the mound for the Dolphins in the ninth and shut down the B-CU order, preserving the 4-3 win and earning a save. Starter Zach Gordon (2-5) picked up the win for JU, pitching four innings. For the Wildcats, starter Riley O’Brien (0-2) takes the loss, pitching five innings with two earned runs and three strikeouts.
The Wildcats return to action in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) action this weekend in Durham, N.C., taking on a crucial three-game rematch at North Carolina Central. The Eagles hold a half-game lead on the Wildcats in the MEAC Southern Division standings.