Wildcats Hand Tigers 14-2 Run-Rule Rout in Series Finale
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (14-16, 7-5 MEAC) claimed an early lead and never looked back in Sunday’s series finale with Savannah State (17-11, 7-4 MEAC), turning in an all-around team performance to close the weekend with a rout of the Tigers, winning 14-2 by run-rule at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play.
Coming off a two-loss day to open the series on Saturday, the Wildcats played inspired and went right to work on Savannah State starter Ethan Glass, opening the scoring in the bottom of the first, with quality hitting to set the tone early.
Eros Modena took advantage of having Brandon Turner reach on base on balls, making B-CU’s first entry in the scoreboard, launching an RBI triple to the left center wall. Modena came home three pitches later on a David Lee RBI triple to right field. Matt Noble connected on the first pitch he saw, bringing the count to three RBI triples in the frame, plating Modena and granting B-CU a 3-0 lead.
“We started this game off, especially offensively, much like we did the first game yesterday,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin said, “but the great thing about it today is that we didn’t give away at-bats, and we were able to sustain approach the entire game.”
Starting pitcher Ali Simpson held the Tigers without a hit for two innings while the Wildcats built a lead. The southpaw downed four batters with strikeouts across the second and third frames.
Eric Sams reached with two outs on a single to shallow center in the third. Noble made the Tigers pay once again, belting an RBI double off the right field wall. Advancing on a balk, Noble crossed the plate on Chris Biocic’s RBI single up the middle, pushing B-CU to a 5-0 advantage.
Shaun McCarty opened the fourth reaching on a dropped pop-up by the SSU shortstop in shallow left field, but that was just the start of the Tigers’ troubles. McCarty reached second on a groundout and was advanced to third on a base hit bunt by Turner down the right side. Modena brought in his second RBI of the day on a fielder’s choice, setting off a big inning for the Wildcats.
After David Lee’s single put runners on the corners, Noble sent another run home, reaching on an error by the SSU third baseman, and Modena scored on a balk. Biocic again wiped the bases clear in his path with a two-run triple to left, extending the B-CU advantage to 10-0.
Simpson (W, 2-4) battled his way to five effective innings, working out of trouble in the fifth after the Tigers brought in a pair of runs to narrow the B-CU lead to eight runs. The Campbell River, B.C. native tabbed five strikeouts, walking just one Tigers batter.
Facing reliever Sherman Graves, the Wildcats stranded one runner in the fifth, but came back with a patient approach in the sixth. Four consecutive walks granted Biocic an RBI, and McCarty capitalized on the situation with a two-run liner past the second baseman. Josh Johnson batted in the game’s final run, reaching on a fielder’s choice, as the Wildcats assumed a 14-2 lead.
After entering in the sixth, Michael Austin returned for his second frame, sealing the game in a seventh-inning run-ruling after downing SSU’s pinch hitters, striking out one and snagging a line drive fired at head level back to the mound.
Biocic, Noble and McCarty led the 12-hit B-CU outing with 2-for-3 hitting each, with Biocic collecting four RBI to Noble and McCarty’s two apiece. Modena added two RBI as well.
In addition to the hitting, B-CU capitalized with 12 RBI on the day, while also recording no errors in the outing.
“In all three parts of the game, I think we had the right mentality and did a good job,” Beverlin noted. “Hopefully we can continue to be consistent with that kind of approach.”
The Wildcats return to action with a pair of midweek games, returning to Jacksonville to face North Florida (20-10) on Tuesday and traveling south to face Miami (20-11) on Wednesday, before facing Florida A&M (2-27, 2-10 MEAC) in a three-game MEAC weekend series in Tallahassee.
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