Despite Extra-Inning Battle, Wildcats Drop DH at No. 6 UW
SEATTLE - The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (22-31) took the No. 6 Washington Huskies (36-11-1) to the limit to open Saturday’s season-ending doubleheader at Husky Ballpark, extending the game to extra innings before falling 5-4 in the 11th. The Wildcats did not fare as well in the finale, falling 7-1 to close the series.
The Wildcats made the first strike of the day, as right fielder Josh Johnson logged a leadoff line drive single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third, coming home on first baseman Eric Sams’ bunt single in the first inning.
The Wildcats didn’t stop there. Facing the Washington ace pitcher, Tyler Davis, designated hitter Jordan Thomas extended the first-inning scoring with a first-pitch RBI single to outer right field, scoring Eros Modena and moving Sams to third. Sams capped the scoring on a double steal to move B-CU ahead of the Huskies, 3-0.
Starter Scott Garner went through the first frame unscathed, but was not so fortunate in the second inning, as Austin Rei led off with a double and scored on Branden Berry’s single to center field. Andrew Ely added a sacrifice fly and Erik Forgione crossed the plate on Robert Pehl’s RBI single through the right side, knotting the score at three-all.
The Huskies earned their first lead in the third, as consecutive singles and a walk loaded the bases to set up Berry for a sacrifice fly and the 4-3 advantage. B-CU reliever John Sever opened his extended outing with the sac fly, and shut down the Huskies for the remainder of regulation play in a gem of a relief appearance.
Despite putting up a career-high 10 hits and season-high four runs against Davis, who entered the game with a 1.47 ERA, the Huskies’ star limited the Wildcats to just the one run after the opening frame, yielding to Will Ballowe in the ninth.
Sever and Ballowe stood their ground in the ninth and sent the Wildcats to their eighth extra innings game of the year. Sever dealt for seven innings with just two hits and no runs allowed.
Extending in the 11th in a 4-4 tie, reliever Michael Austin got jammed in his second inning of action, allowing a leadoff walk and sending the next batter to first as a hit batter. Jack Meggs scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error, ending the game in a 5-4 loss.
Austin (0-5) takes the loss for the Wildcats, while closer Troy Rallings (5-0) pitched two-thirds of an inning for the win.
At the plate in the first game, Sams went 3-for-5 to lead the Wildcats with one run and an RBI, while Pizarro was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Thomas added an RBI on 1-for-3 hitting.
The loss took the wind out of the B-CU sails and the Wildcats’ offense stumbled early in the second game of the doubleheader. Starter Keith Zuniga (6-4) had an uncharacteristically tough outing, taking the loss after allowing four earned runs through three and one third innings on the mound. The Huskies jumped out to a 7-0 advantage after four innings and held the margin through the sixth.
The Wildcats loaded up the bases on UW reliever Zach Wright in the seventh and Johnson put B-CU on the board with an RBI walk for the final margin of 7-1 in the game three loss.
Catcher Zach Olszewski had a strong game at the plate in game three to lead the Wildcats, hitting 3-for-3.
With the loss, the Wildcats conclude the 2014 regular season and the next game on the slate is the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Baseball Championships on Wednesday (May 14). Earning the top seed in the MEAC Southern Division, the divisional Co-Champion Wildcats will face the Northern Division fourth-seeded Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks at 12:30 p.m. at Marty L. Miller field in Norfolk, Va.
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