GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The weekend went from historic to legendary as Bethune-Cookman defeated Florida 6-2 Sunday in the NCAA Gainesville [Fla.] Regional at McKethan Stadium and force a decisive game Monday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Nate Sterijevski drove in four runs, while TJ Densmore and Anthony Maldonado combined on seven and two-thirds innings of shutout relief as the Wildcats (36-24) ended a 31-game losing streak to the Gators (44-17).
Bethune-Cookman earlier in the day made history by downing USF 6-4 to advance to a regional for the first time, then played loose and relaxed against the national third seed.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the second when Sterijevski doubled home Kyle Corbin and scored on a throw error only to have the Gators answer with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the innings.
In the sixth, Sterijevski singled to left field and once again brought home Corbin. On the play before, Corbin singled, but Danny Rodriguez was thrown out at the plate.
Bethune-Cookman blew the game open in the eighth when Sterijevski singled home Rodriguez and Austin Garcia. Pinch hitter Michael Deeb’s double off the left field wall brought in Sterijevski to conclude the scoring.
Rodriguez, Corbin and Adonis Lao each had two hits for the Wildcats, who outhit the Gators 12-5.
On the mound, Densmore relieved starter Donté Lindsay in the second and limited Florida to two hits in his stint while Maldonado, who started Friday’s opening loss to USF, finished the game with four no-hit innings with just one walk.
Bethune-Cookman returns to the diamond for the winner-take-all NCAA Gainesville [Fla.] Regional championship game against the Florida Gators at 4 p.m., back inside McKethan Stadium.