Cats Remain in MEAC Tournament Hunt with Win over N.C. A&T
NORFOLK, Va. - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (32-24) dismissed the North Carolina A&T Aggies (16-38) after a handy win in the elimination bracket of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Baseball Championships, Friday at Marty L. Miller Field. With steady hitting, the Wildcats scored in six innings to top the Aggies 11-5 and extend their season with another game later in the day.
The Wildcats came out firing, opening with a leadoff single from Josh Johnson through the left side and setting the tone from the first pitch. Brandon Turner was the first to put the Wildcats in the scorebook, crossing the plate from third on a wild pitch.
Chesapeake, Va. junior first baseman put up the Wildcats’ first RBI of the day with a perfectly placed single into shallow center to bring Eric Sams home. Jordan Thomas added another run on a fielder’s choice and capped off the scoring by coming home on an infield throwing error.
The Wildcats drove counts early on Aggies starter Justin Godette, who exited the contest in the first inning after a 45-pitch outing and three earned runs, giving way to Shane Carter. Meanwhile, B-CU starter Scott Garner downed the Aggies in 13 pitches on the frame.
Johnson led off the second inning with a triple and came home quickly, as Turner plated the run with a sacrifice fly to left. David Lee made it a pair for the inning with an RBI double to the left center wall.
A third inning walk and wild pitch gave the Aggies their first scoring opportunity, breaking the shutout with a Luke Tendler sacrifice fly, narrowing the Wildcats’ lead to 6-1.
The Wildcats took the run right back on an RBI triple for Johnson to the left field wall, building the lead back to 7-1.
Despite a run on the board, Garner held a no-hitter for the Wildcats through the fourth inning.
The Wildcats retaliated again in the bottom of the fifth with Shaun McCarty’s two run double deep down the right field line.
The Aggies tacked up two runs in two additional innings, courtesy of an RBI walk and RBI single in the sixth and Kelvin Freeman’s two-run homer to right in the eighth.
The Wildcats kept the steady scoring on with a Stokes home run to left in the sixth and David Lee’s RBI triple deep into the right field corner after tipping off Freeman’s glove at first, rebuilding a six-run advantage.
Eros Modena made his first career appearance on the mound, relieving Lenny Martinez in the ninth to close out the game with a pair of groundouts and a strikeout, securing the 11-5 victory for B-CU and keeping the Wildcats alive in the elimination bracket.
Garner (6-5) earned the win after six innings on the hill, allowing four hits and three earned runs, while striking out three. Garner had some struggles in finding the zone early, allowing eight walks, but proved to be an escape artist, working out of two bases loaded jams with no runs surrendered.
Johnson was a big hitter for the ‘Cats, going 3-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored, while Sams was 2-for-4 with one RBI and three runs scored. Stokes and McCarty also logged a pair of RBI apiece.
The Wildcats play another game immediately in the elimination bracket, facing North Carolina Central in a 6:15 p.m. game, with the loser facing elimination from the tournament.
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