Wildcats Fall to CofC in Heartbreaking 10th-Inning Double, 2-1
CHARLESTON, S.C. - It was a pitcher’s duel from the opening frame to the final pitch of Friday night’s series-opening non-conference contest between the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (20-24) and College of Charleston Cougars (29-13) at The Ballpark at Patriots Point, as the Wildcats fell, 2-1, on a 10th-inning walk-off double.
The Wildcats opened with a lead they would hold through seven innings as left fielder Bryant Munoz touched home in the first inning on center fielder Julian Santos’ double to center field. Munoz reached base on a leadoff single to shallow center.
The starting pitchers, B-CU’s Montana Durapau and CofC’s Taylor Clarke duked it out for seven frames, racking up a combined 18 strikeouts; the nine K’s apiece was a season high for each.
In the eighth frame, facing Michael Austin on the mound for B-CU, first baseman Carl Wise put a sacrifice fly into left field to bring in third baseman Blake Butler for the 1-1 tie.
After designated hitter Austin Garcia reached second in the ninth on a throwing error by subbed-in third baseman Devon Reed, B-CU third baseman Jordan Robinson’s perfectly-placed bunt became a sacrifice, called out at first. Head Coach Jason Beverlin shot out of the dugout to debate the call and appears to have been justified, as multiple replays on the Charleston Sports Network showed Robinson may have been safe.
The Wildcats ended the ninth with pinch runner Jake Welch stranded on third. In the bottom half, Austin downed the Cougars in order to send the Wildcats to their fifth extra-innings contest of the season.
In the bottom of the 10th, it all came down to a two-out 1-2 count pitch from reliever John Sever, as Wise doubled deep into the right center gap, scoring Butler from first for the 2-1 walk-off CofC victory.
“Both pitchers did a great job,” Beverlin said. “Montana [Durapau] pitched his tail off and Michael [Austin] did a good job of coming in. There just wasn’t much offense to speak of from either team. When we did mount a threat, we didn’t cash them in.”
Austin (0-3) takes the loss, allowing Butler to reach on a single up the middle. For the Cougars, closer Michael Hanzlik (1-1) earns the win, throwing one and two-thirds innings, finishing the game as the fourth of CofC’s pitchers to take the mound.
The Wildcats and Cougars continue the series with game two at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Patriots Point.
To join the conversation on social media, be sure to tag your B-CU-related posts with the official hashtag of B-CU Athletics, #HailWildcats.