FIU Surges Past Wildcats Through Middle Innings, 8-4
MIAMI - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (15-15) allowed FIU (23-6) too many opportunities, as the Panthers capitalized on free bases to surmount an early Wildcats lead and hold on for the 8-4 victory on Tuesday night at FIU Baseball Stadium
“You just can’t give the other team free bases, it will kill you every time,” Head Coach Jason Beverlin. “It’s very low percentage baseball and we’ve got to clean that up. I’m confident they’re hearing the right things and when they decide to play fundamental baseball, we will be a better team.”
While B-CU recorded just a pair of hits across the first three frames, the Wildcats ramped up in the fourth, opening with consecutive singles from third baseman Jordan Robinson and second baseman Matt Noble. Right fielder Josh Johnson capitalized on the opportunity, connecting on a Robby Kalaf hanging breaking ball for an RBI single to outer left field, taking the 1-0 advantage.
That was hardly it for the Wildcats in the frame, as left fielder Bryant Munoz reached on a fielder’s choice to send Noble home, then Johnson crossed the plate on a wild pitch. Munoz capped off the four-run inning, scoring from third on first baseman Eric Sams’ infield RBI single.
A one-out Josh Anderson walk came back to bite reliever Christopher Waltermire in the bottom half of the inning, as he crossed the plate on a Brandon Gomez RBI single to right field, putting FIU on the board and trimming the B-CU lead to 4-1.
With two outs away and two runners on, the Wildcats opted to go for the force out via the first intentional walk of the season. Edwin Rios took a 2-2 pitch to center field on a line drive for two RBI, sparking the Panthers. Two more runs came in on B-CU miscues to grant FIU its first lead at 5-4.
The Panthers expanded on their lead in the sixth, making it three consecutive scoring innings, capping off the FIU scoring, first off Aramis Garcia’s sacrifice fly to left field and ending in a two-run Rios double to go up 8-4.
The Wildcats struggled in attacking the strikezone, allowing 11 walks and five wild pitches among the six pitchers who took the mound for Bethune-Cookman. Taking the loss for the Wildcats, Donte Lindsay (0-1). For FIU, reliever Mike Ellis (5-2) threw 2.1 innings.
In spite of the deficit, hits were tied between the teams at 9-9. Sams paced the Wildcats with a 3-for-5 hitting performance, recording one RBI. Johnson went 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored.
The Wildcats remain in south Florida through the midweek, as they travel to Coral Gables to rematch with Miami on Wednesday night. When the Wildcats and Hurricanes met on March 11, the Wildcats topped UM, 5-2