Wildcats' Win Streak Reaches Six with 5-3 Win at JU
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (20-17) extended their current win streak to a season-high six games, while completing the sweep of the two-game season series with the Jacksonville Dolphins (11-22), with a 5-3 victory Tuesday night at John Sessions Stadium.
The Wildcats went to work quickly, as designated hitter Josh Johnson led off the first with a single up the middle, rolling to third on Brandon Turner’s right side base hit. Right fielder David Lee made the effort count, plating two runs on a grounded single through the middle, granting B-CU the 2-0 lead from the very first frame.
The Dolphins’ order gave fits to starter Lenny Martinez, who struggled with command early, allowing an RBI groundout before shutting down the JU hitters, ending the frame on a heads-up 1-2-3 double play. Martinez held the game at 2-1 through the second before giving way to Byron Ferguson coming out of the bullpen.
The Wildcats added to their total in the top of the third, again led-off by Johnson, who reached as a hit batter, and reaching third as Turner matched his first-frame single through the right side. Lee also added to his RBI total on the day with a single through the left side to bring Johnson in. Turner soon crossed as well as Eric Sams brought him home on an RBI groundout. Anthony Stokes capped off the inning with a sacrifice fly to left.
Ferguson and Christopher Waltermire combined to hold the Dolphins without a hit for five innings before a pair of walks came back to bite the Wildcats in the eighth. Entering in relief with inherited runners, Jordan Dailey worked to shut down a JU rally attempt as a two-run single slipped through the middle infield, narrowing the score to 5-3.
However, Dailey was quick to shut the door on the frame, putting a pair of strikeouts on the board, going on to earn his seventh save of the season, forcing three consecutive batters to put the ball up for flyouts in the ninth, and securing the 5-3 win.
“We did a good job of not giving up the big hit,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin said. “We gave them a few too many base runners, but at the same time, we made big pitches when we had to and the defense came up big.”
The Wildcats turned a season-best three double plays and athletic outfield snags for Eros Modena, Turner and Lee helped keep the Dolphins checked throughout the game.
“Any time the other team is putting pressure on you and getting runners on base, it definitely helps your momentum to turn that double play and squash their rally and get us back in the dugout,” Beverlin said.
Ferguson (2-2) earned the win after stabilizing the game in relief through the early frames.
A Jacksonville native, Lee again made a solid homecoming, with his timely hitting playing a key role in the Wildcats’ victory, putting up three RBI on 2-for-5 batting. Matt Noble went 3-for-4 while both Turner and PJ Biocic were 2-for-4.
The Wildcats (10-5 MEAC) are without a game for three days, preparing for the rematch with Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) foe North Carolina Central (21-14, 9-6) at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Saturday to Sunday (April 13-14), battling for control of the MEAC Southern division pole position.
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