CCSU Outlasts Wildcats in 2-1 Series-Opening Loss
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (3-4) grabbed a sixth-inning lead over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (12-11) in Friday’s series opener at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, holding off a final Wildcats rally in the 2-1 B-CU loss.
In a very defense-oriented non-conference tilt, the Wildcat reached the board first, after three complete innings of action, as first baseman Eric Sams scored the Wildcats lone run in the bottom of the fourth, coming in from third on a CCSU double play.
The Wildcats held the Blue Devils in the fifth, but a hot start to the sixth put CCSU in position to move ahead, leading off with consecutive singles by Connor Fitzsimons and Yuri Morin. After a sacrifice bunt left runners on second and third, Fitzsimons came home on J.P. Sportman’s fielder’s choice to shortstop. Sportman went on to score the go-ahead run, after stealing second, coming home on a Josh Ingham single through the right side to put the Blue Devils up 2-1.
The Wildcats were not without opportunities, leaving runners on the bases in both the eighth and the ninth, including a bases loaded situation in the final frame, but failed to capitalize and fell in the one-run series-opening loss.
“We had our chances, we just squandered those chances,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin said. “They beat us, and we just didn’t take advantage of opportunities we had to win the game.”
For CCSU, Tom Coughlin (1-1) threw 118 pitches through eight innings to earn the win, yielding to second baseman and closer Inham in the ninth. Ingham earned his second save of the year. Coughlin finished with 10 strikeouts, an opponent season high for the Wildcats.
“Their guy threw the ball well,” Beverlin said. “He had a good arm and good stuff; we’ve just got to battle in those situations.”
For Bethune-Cookman, starter Keith Zuniga (3-2) takes the loss, throwing the complete game with five strikeouts.
At the plate, Sams led the Wildcats, batting 3-for-4 with one run scored. In the ninth, he led off with a hard-hit single through the left side to grant the Wildcats their final opportunity.
SERIES SCHEDULE UPDATE
For travel considerations for the Central Connecticut State baseball team, Sunday's series finale will be moved to 12 p.m. from the original 1 p.m. start time.