Wildcats Push Past UCF in 5-2 Midweek Victory
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Battling unseasonably cold weather, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (7-4) scrapped out their fifth consecutive victory on Tuesday evening at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, pulling ahead of the UCF Knights (6-6) in the early innings and using stout defense to hold on for a 5-2 victory.
UCF made the first strike, capitalizing on a pair of B-CU first-inning errors that allowed JoMarcos Woods to reach third. Knights first baseman James Vasquez slipped a single through the right side to provide UCF a brief 1-0 lead.
However, the Wildcats were quick to respond. Facing a gusty inbound wind in the bottom of the first, freshman designated hitter Austin Garcia sparked B-CU with a bloop single into left field, bringing home Eric Sams and Jordan Robinson, who reached on a base and a walk, respectively.
In the second frame, with three men aboard and two outs, Sams put a hard-hit shot on the ground to the right side, shooting between the baseman’s legs for the error and two more Bethune-Cookman runs on the board, as Josh Johnson and Shaun McCarty crossed the plate.
Catcher Jose Carballo capped off three straight base hits for the Wildcats, in addition to recording the third consecutive B-CU scoring frame, firing a bullet down the first base line. The hard-hit ball clipped the bag and shot into the outfield, allowing Carballo to round second for the RBI double, pushing the B-CU advantage to 5-1.
Vasquez again put up points for the Knights in the top of the fourth, this time in the form of a solo home run to right field, narrowing B-CU lead to 5-2, and logging the final UCF score of the night.
Starter Montana Durapau (2-0) went deep into the game, throwing seven innings with six strikeouts and no walks to secure the win. Freshman Riley O’Brien and sophomore Michael Austin combined to allow no hits in the final two frames, with Austin (1) picking up the save.
At the plate, both Johnson and McCarty went 2-for-4 with one run scored each, while Garcia was 1-for-4 with two RBI.
The Wildcats have now defeated the Knights in each of the last two meetings in Daytona Beach.
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Ballpark as host to No. 21 Florida International (FIU) at 4 p.m. The Panthers (11-1) capped a 2-1 series victory over Dartmouth on Sunday with an 11-7 victory in Miami.