Wildcats Hold Off Central Michigan Rallies for 10-5 Victory
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (7-6) fought off two rally attempts from Central Michigan (3-8) before ending the Chippewas' comeback attempt with a big seventh inning and solid relief performances from the bullpen, en route to a 10-5 victory Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, taking B-CU to a winning record for the first time in the 2013 campaign.
The Wildcats opened the scoring in the third as David Lee put a hot shot single through the left side, and Brandon Turner scored from second after drawing a leadoff walk to reach base. Matt Noble reached on a fielder's choice, batting in Josh Johnson on the play, and a hard-hit single to the shortstop added an RBI for Eric Sams and a 3-0 lead for B-CU.
The Chippewas countered in the top of the fifth, using three hits and a pair of stolen bases to narrow the deficit to a single run, snapping starter Montana Durapau's 23-inning scoreless streak. CMU followed up in the top of the sixth, punching in the game-tying run with a well-placed single to shallow right center, moving the score to 3-3. Michael Austin entered in relief with two outs and a runner in scoring position, securing a key swinging strikeout to wrap the frame.
"[It] was huge," Head Coach Jason Beverlin said "It kept the game within reach. It shut them down and gave us a chance to come right back in and score some runs.
The Wildcats responded in the home part of the inning again starting with a leadoff walk for Turner, who made the steal for an advance to third and crossed the dish on a high-flying Lee single to the edge of the infield. Eros Modena tacked on another, scoring on a wild pitch to put B-CU up 5-3.
In the top of the seventh, the Chippewas would again threaten, as a speeding single took a tough hop off the clay past third base to move runners into scoring position. Back-to-back hard-hit singles through the middle allowed CMU to put up a pair of runs and again knot the score, then at 5-5, halted as Jordan Dailey moved from the bullpen to the mound to shut the door with a strikeout and a groundout.
Three straight B-CU walks in the bottom of the seventh set the table, an Johnson's power shot to the right side converted the bases-loaded situation to plate two more and break the game open. Turner went on to score on a wild pitch, while Johnson came home on Modena's deep double to left center. Modena logged B-CU's third score on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 10-5.
Christopher Waltermire took the hill in the top of the ninth, downing three of four CMU batters faced to finalize the five-run victory.
Dailey (2-0) would earn the win with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings, taking the hill from Austin, who logged two strikeouts in one inning, after Durapau took the first 5 1/3 with five K's. On the strength of the pitching staff's efforts, B-CU never trailed in Tuesday's contest.
The fourth of six pitchers to face the Wildcats, CMU's Scott Marinier (0-1) took the loss after walking the go-ahead run in the seventh.
Johnson led the Wildcats at the plate with 2-for-4 batting, two runs scored and two RBI. Lee added a 2-for-5 performance with two RBI, while turner hit 1-for-1 while earning three bases on balls and scoring three runs.
The two-game meeting with the Chippewas continues on Wednesday (March 6) at "The Jack", with first pitch set for 6 p.m.
"We've got to stay the course," Beverlin said. "They're going to come out hungry, ready to go, we've got to definitely come out with some energy and ready to finish off the two-game sweep."
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