Wildcats Double-Up on Eagles in the 10th for 8-7 Victory
FT. MYERS, Fla. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (28-19) overcame a comeback attempt by the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (22-16), Wednesday night in a 8-7 extra innings victory at Swanson Stadium. The Wildcats never trailed the Eagles but delivered in the clutch in extra frame, collecting the winning run on consecutive two-out doubles in the 10th.
The Wildcats entered the scorebook early, as Brandon Turner reached base on balls, stole second and scored on Eros Modena’s line drive double, granting B-CU the 1-0 advantage in the top of the first.
Florida Gulf Coast starter Zack Tillery audibly vented his frustration as he walked off the field following the top of the third after surrendering three runs in the frame, as the Wildcats shot out to a 4-0 lead.
In that inning, Josh Johnson’s one-out double to left field began the Wildcats’ threat. Turner reached and advanced on an error, scoring Johnson in the process. Stealing third, Turner came home on Modena’s RBI groundout, and David Lee capped off the frame with a home run beyond the left field wall; his second of the season.
The Wildcats led 4-0 when starter Montana Durapau departed the mound in the bottom of the third, but the bullpen struggled to secure the final out in the fourth. Consecutive singles jumpstarted the Eagles, but unforced miscues allowed FGCU to tie the game, scoring four runs off a pair of RBI walks and a pair of RBI hit batters.
B-CU didn’t give FGCU much of an opportunity to get comfortable, as Eric Sams put a well-placed two-out single up the middle to get the Wildcats started in the top of the fifth. Clay Middleton followed with a single fired through the middle infield to bring Sams home. Reaching as a hit batter, PJ Biocic scored on Shaun McCarty’s solid-contact single to shallow center, and Middleton capped the scoring on Johnson’s RBI line drive single over the shortstop to push the ‘Cats back out to a 7-4 lead.
The Eagles came rushing back in the bottom half, as untimely walks created opportunities for FGCU, converted on an RBI fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly to narrow the newly-earned B-CU lead to just a single run.
The Eagles threatened in the sixth, loading the bases with no runs, but converted on the identical situation in the seventh, as a mental error on a force out allowed the tie run to score and the batter to reach.
The contest dropped into the longest scoreless stretch of the game, as both teams’ closers took the mound for a non-scoring eighth and ninth, sending the game to B-CU’s fourth extra innings tilt of the year. Modena got close to ending it in the ninth, as the FGCU center fielder snagged his hard-line contact at the fence.
Facing two outs in the top of the 10th, McCarty came up big with a double to left center and Johnson came through in the clutch for the Wildcats, doubling the first pitch deep down the left field line to plate McCarty’s run for the 8-7 advantage.
Jordan Dailey (5-0) earned the win, securing three flyouts in the bottom of the 10th, after pitching the game’s longest appearance (3 1/3 innings), allowing two hits and striking out two. FGCU’s Harrison Cooney (2-4) took the loss after pitching three innings.
In addition to the game-winning RBI, Johnson was solid for the Wildcats all day, leading the team with 3-for-5 batting, two RBI and one run scored. McCarty was 2-for-5 with an RBI and the scoring the winning run.
Modena went 1-for-5 but logged two RBI, playing designated hitter today on his 21st birthday.
The Wildcats are off the field for the next five days, with a bye week in conference play. The Wildcats travel to South Florida on Tuesday, April 30 with a 7 p.m. game.
Heading into the short break, the Wildcats are on a roll in the month of April, with a 14-3 record, including the last five straight. Sweeping the two-game matchup at FGCU, the Wildcats are now 17-4 against opponents from the state of Florida in 2013.
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