Wildcats Fall on Sixth-Inning NCCU Rally in Series Finale
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - After opening the game on a hitting spree, Bethune-Cookman (8-7, 4-2 MEAC) struggled at the plate through the later innings of Sunday’s game three loss to North Carolina Central (5-9-1, 3-3 MEAC), falling victim to a huge sixth-inning rally by the Eagles, 7-4.
The Wildcats came out swinging in the bottom of the first, after starting pitcher Scott Garner downed the Eagles’ in just six pitches in the top half. Right fielder Josh Johnson led off the effort with a single into right field and reached third after a wild pitch a groundout. First baseman Eric Sams made it count, doubling deep into right center, later scoring from third on a pickoff error at first. Third baseman Jordan Robinson, who reached base on balls, made it three as he crossed the plate on designated hitter Austin Garcia’s high-arching RBI single to right center.
Making just his second start behind the plate for B-CU, Zach Olszewski registered a triple deep down the left field line for his first career hit in the bottom of the second, later scoring on a wild pitch to give the Wildcats a 4-0 advantage.
In top of the sixth, NCCU second baseman Cory Williamson reached base on a throwing error, and came home after two consecutive singles loaded the bases and another error extended the inning for the Eagles, jumpstarting NCCU in scoring six unearned runs in the frame to claim a 6-4 lead over the Wildcats.
NCCU center fielder Eric Kimber added another run for the Eagles in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly, pushing the Eagles on top 7-4.
The Wildcats struggled to rally, recording just one hit after the third inning, a Matt Noble single through the left side in the bottom of the eighth, allowing NCCU to send the game final with a three-run victory, earning the 2-1 series victory over B-CU.
NCCU starter Andrew Wilson (1-1) threw 7.2 innings for the Eagles, registering two strikeouts with four earned runs allowed. For the Wildcats, Garner (1-2) threw 5.2 innings with two strikeouts, allowing no earned runs.
Offensively, Noble batted 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the Wildcats.
The Wildcats return to action in the midweek with a road matchup at No. 16 Miami (Fla.) on Tuesday in Coral Gables, Fla. After that, B-CU travels to face North Florida on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Fla.