Wildcats Fall in 11th of Pitcher's Duel against CSUN
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - In a reversal of the opening day final score, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (1-1) went to the first extra innings of the 2014 campaign in game two of the series with Cal State Northridge, allowing the go-ahead run to score in the 11th inning of Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
From the opening pitch, it became apparent that the Wildcats were facing a hotly-contested defensive struggle, as in the first game of the series, with the scoreboard remaining scoreless into the third frame. In the top half of that inning, CSN left fielder Daniel Timmerman reached base on balls and scored from first on shortstop Brett Balkan’s double deep down the left field line, narrowly beating the play at the plate for the 1-0 advantage.
The Wildcats brought the score even again in the bottom of the fifth, as second baseman Matt Noble also reached base by walk, later crossing the plate as the tie run on designated hitter Jake Welch’s RBI single into shallow center field.
The pitchers dueled it out over the next five frames, first giving way to the conclusion of regulation play, before carrying the game into the 11th inning. As the fourth pitcher appearing for the Wildcats behind starter Montana Durapau, Christopher Waltermire made quick work of the first two CSN batters of the 11th, but catcher Alexis Mercado squared up a double into left to move into scoring position. Facing reliever Michael Austin with an 0-2 count, right fielder Chester Pak connected on a line drive through an infield gap, bringing pinch runner Nicolas Osuna in for the go-ahead run.
Taking the mound through the final four innings, CSN’s Shay Maltese (1-0) downed the Wildcats in order in the bottom half to become the winning pitcher in the 2-1 victory over B-CU.
“We did a great job of holding them down and keeping ourselves in the game,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin said. “We had some opportunities, we just couldn’t get that big hit when we needed it with guys in scoring position.”
Welch paced the Wildcats offensive, batting 2-for-3 with one RBI on the day.
Waltermire (0-1) takes the loss for Bethune-Cookman.
Prior to the game, Bethune-Cookman baseball hosted a very special ceremonial first pitch. As detailed in an Orlando Sentinel column last week, during the summer Coach Beverlin faced an exceptionally rare and life-threatening illness and received his life-saving treatment at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Typically stern in pregame, Beverlin couldn’t help but smile wide as five of the nurses who treated him (Janet Popp, Stacey Stewart, Keri Carrigg, Tera Thigpin and Karen Perrin) entered the field to throw out the first pitches.
With the Wildcats claiming victory in game one of the series, the rubber match between Bethune-Cookman and Cal State Northridge is scheduled to get under way on Sunday (Feb. 16) at 11 a.m. at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
“Tomorrow I expect another tight game,” Beverlin noted. “When you have two teams that are throwing the ball well and playing well defensively, that’s usually what we’re going to get.”
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