Wildcats Hold Off FIU Rally, 4-3, for First-Ever Sweep
MIAMI, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (23-18) capitalized on timely hitting with runners in scoring position and the miscues of the FIU Panthers (20-16), using a stout effort from the pitching staff to hold on for the 4-3 victory, Tuesday evening at FIU Baseball Stadium. With the win, the Wildcats complete a season sweep of the Panthers for the first time in program history.
“Lately we have the attitude that we’re going to find a way to win, regardless of how we do it,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin said. “All the way around, it’s starting to come together a little bit. They’re getting more and more confident with each win.”
The Wildcats capitalized on Panthers’ miscues early in the game, first scoring in the top of the third with Shaun McCarty crossing the plate, coming home from third on a pickoff error by FIU starter John Caballero. Brandon Turner would double up the effort, scoring from second on Eros Modena’s RBI single to right center, granting the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
The Panthers countered in the bottom half of the frame, also scoring on a pickoff error, to narrow the B-CU advantage to a single run.
The Wildcats struck again in the top of the fifth, as Josh Johnson led off with a double to the left center wall, coming home on another FIU error, this time at shortstop, as Modena reached and advanced on the play as well, later stealing third. Anthony Stokes plated the frame’s second run, seeing the 0-2 pitch right down the middle of the plate, and firing it into left field for an RBI single, pushing the Wildcats on top 4-1.
After fighting off multiple Panthers threats in his longest career appearance, Martinez got into trouble in the bottom half, first walking the leadoff batter. FIU catcher Aramis Garcia made it count with a two-run homer just beyond Modena’s outstretched glove at the left field wall.
Entering in relief from the Bullpen, Byron Ferguson (2 innings, 3 hits, 1 strikeout) shut down the FIU rally attempt and held off a Panthers threat in the sixth, before yielding to Christopher Waltermire in the seventh. Waltermire (2 innings, 0 hits, 2 strikeouts) downed six consecutive batters to bridge the gap to Jordan Dailey. The senior closer, Dailey, induced two flyouts and a groundout in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the 4-3 victory and earn his eighth save of the 2013 campaign.
“Everybody that pitched for us did a good job of keeping us in the game and finding ways to hold them down,” Beverlin said.
Ferguson (3-2) earned the win over the Panthers.
Shaun McCarty led the Wildcats at the plate with a 2-for-3 batting performance, both doubles to left field. Modena and Stokes each earned RBI. The Wildcats collectively tallied nine runs on the night.
“We’re going out expecting to win and executing, and doing the things we need to do get back on that bus with a win in our hands,” Beverlin concluded.
The Wildcats remain in the Miami metro area for the night, preparing for another key rematch on the week, as B-CU faces Miami (24-15) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables. At the last meeting, the Wildcats defeated the Hurricanes 5-3. B-CU is now one win away from sweeping the Miami Metro teams for the first time in school history.
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