DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman Baseball swept a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference doubleheader from Savannah State on Saturday inside Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. B-CU earned a 6-3 decision in the opener, followed by a 9-2 win in the nightcap.
In collecting the series victory over the Tigers, Bethune-Cookman moved its winning streak in league play to six games, putting the Wildcats in sole possession of first place in the Southern Division.
GAME ONE RECAP
Bethune-Cookman (8-21, 7-3 MEAC) pounded out 10 hits, while Clint Clymer came out of the bullpen to shut the door on the mound, helping the homestanding Wildcats take a 6-3 win over Savannah State in the opening game of a Saturday twin bill in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Through three-and-a-half innings, B-CU starter Alex Seibold and SSU starting pitcher Austin Denny went toe-to-toe on the mound in a true pitcher’s duel. Both kept the other’s team in check, until B-CU was able to use a Tigers error in the home-half of the fourth to finally break through in the runs column.
Redshirt senior right fielder Jordan Robinson started the B-CU at-bat with a double down the left field line. An error charged to the Savannah State infield allowed freshman Mijon Cummings to reach on the next play, and also allowed Robinson to score the game’s opening run.
Savannah State (12-14, 6-4) answered in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 1-1.
Harrison Moore singled to right, moving shortstop Jonathan Moore to third. However, a Wildcats throwing error from the outfield allowed Jonathan Moore to score from third, also moving Harrison Moore into scoring position at second base.
Seibold would settle down to get the next two batters and end the side.
In the bottom of the fifth, B-CU took control for good.
Shortstop Demetrius Sims singled past the glove of Jonathan Moore at short, followed by Marcus Stump reaching safely on an errant throw from SSU third baseman Zachary Brigham, attempting to throw out Stump at first, as he laid down a sac bunt attempt along the third base line. The error also moved Sims to third.
Designated hitter Nathan Bond registered a sacrifice fly to right, with the speedy Sims coming in from third for the go-ahead run, 2-1.
Robinson then stepped up, delivering a RBI single to center field, crossing Stump on the play for the 3-1 advantage.
B-CU would make it 4-1 two batters later, using a José Carballo RBI single to right, pushing across Robinson on the hit.
SSU put two runs across in the top of the sixth, prompting B-CU head coach Jason Beverlin to bring Clint Clymer on to work the final 3.1 innings.
The Wildcats added two runs in the bottom of the seventh for good measure.
A dropped fly from SSU second baseman Michael McHugh allowed Robinson to reach with one away, only to be followed by Mijon Cummings’ single, putting Robinson into scoring position. After Carballo’s fly out advanced the runners 90 feet, catcher Clay Middleton picked up his second hit of the game, punching a two-run scoring single through the right side to plate Cummings and Robinson for the 6-3 final score.
Clymer would allow just one hit over the final two frames, as he cruised to his third save of the year.
The win went to Seibold, upping his record to 3-2 on the campaign. The loss went to SSU’s Denny who suffered his first setback of the year, falling to 3-1.
Seibold worked 5.2 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits. Clymer allowed just the single in the eighth, while striking out five against two walks.
The B-CU offense was led by Robinson with a 2-for-4 day, scoring three times and adding a RBI. Middleton also went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs driven in. Sims rounded out the Wildcats with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
GAME TWO RECAP
Senior pitcher Keith Zuniga pitched six scoreless innings for Bethune-Cookman, as the Wildcats completed the doubleheader sweep of Savannah State, 9-2, in the nightcap of Saturday’s MEAC action in Daytona Beach, Florida.
With Zuniga, the MEAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year, spinning a gem on the mound, the Bethune-Cookman (9-21, 8-3) offense came alive against SSU’s Austin Robinson. The Wildcats went to work on Robinson in the second inning, plating four runs on four hits.
B-CU third baseman Brandon Wilkes doubled to left, and Demetrius Sims tripled to right, giving the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead with one out. After catcher Zach Olszewski drew a four-pitch walk, Bryant Munoz lifted a sac fly to deep center, allowing Sims to scamper in from third. Second baseman Brandon Amendolare then lined a RBI double to the center field wall, plating Olszewski, and moving up to third following an error charged to the Savannah State (12-15, 6-5) infield on a throw trying to cut down Olszewski at home plate. When Nathan Bond delivered a double to center over the head of Mendez Elder, Amendolare scored to put the Wildcats up, 4-0.
The Cats added another run in the third, as Sims picked up a RBI double to center, allowing first baseman Austin Garcia to score. Garcia began the inning with a leadoff double himself.
The Wildcats went back to work offensively in the fifth, pushing in another four runs.
Garcia doubled after Robinson’s single, driving home the Ft. Pierce, Florida native. Wilkes then picked up his first triple of the year – leaving him a home run shy of the cycle, scoring Garcia for the 7-0 Wildcats lead. That spawned Savannah State to call upon relief pitcher Giancarlo Mirabal to take over on the mound for Robinson.
B-CU wasted little time getting to Mirabal, as Sims singled up the middle to score Wilkes, followed by Olszewski being hit by a pitch and Munoz delivering a run-scoring double inside the bag at third.
That allowed the Cats to take a commanding 9-0 lead after five innings played.
Alexis Herrera closed out the final inning for the Cats on the mound, as SSU plated a pair of runs on the freshman from Miami, giving the game its final 9-2 score.
Zuniga picked up the win to even his record at 3-3 on the campaign. The loss went to Robinson as he fell to 4-1.
The B-CU offense was paced by Sims with a perfect 3-for-3 game, adding three RBI and scoring a run. Wilkes also registered three hits in four trips, scoring twice and driving in one. Meanwhile, Garcia went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI in his first conference start since February 28 (vs. Florida A&M).
Bethune-Cookman will seek its second consecutive league series sweep Sunday back at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, as B-CU and Savannah State meet in the series finale at 1 p.m.