BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Bethune-Cookman tightened its grip on the MEAC Southern Division by sweeping Savannah State University (SSU) last weekend.
The Wildcats (19-13, 9-3) had an offensive explosion to win the series finale 10-1 on Sunday.
The series featured the two top teams in the division as the Wildcats are first and the Tigers are second.
“We did a great job of situational hitting. The entire lineup did what was needed,” said Jason Beverlin, B-CU’s head coach.
Brandon Turner went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Alejandro Sanchez 2-for-5 with three RBIs to pace B-CU offensively.
Anthony Stokes added a homerun, Josh Johnson was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and Bryan Rivera picked up the win on the mound for the Wildcats.
A big story of the game was the return of pitcher Ali Simpson, who missed last season due to undergoing Tommy John surgery. Ali started and pitched two scoreless innings.
“It was awesome just to be able to pitch again,” Simpson said.
Beverlin added, “It’s great to have him back. He gave us a lift and we will get his pitch count up as the year goes along.”
The previous day, B-CU opened the series by taking a doubleheader from SSU (11-17, 5-7).
In the first game, the Wildcats won 2-1 as Gabriel Hernandez (4-1) pitched a complete game while Nick Johnson and Josh Johnson each had two hits with an RBI.
“It felt good. I was comfortable with my pitches throughout the game,” said Hernandez.
B-CU won the second game 9-8 when Nick Johnson hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to score Brandon Turner to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. A throwing error on the play allowed David Lee to score the game-winning run.
“The key was getting guys on base. We had the right guys up in that situation. Nick has been hitting well in situations and they threw the ball away,” stated Beverlin.
Johnson was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Turner was 3-for-7 for the Wildcats.
B-CU faced the University of North Florida (20-14) on Tuesday and No. 14 University of Central Florida (26-7) on Wednesday. The Wildcats returned home against rival Florida A&M on April 14 and 15.
Softball: Wildcats remain unbeaten in MEAC
Aureila Gamch went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Kelsi Rodney 2-for-3 with three RBIs ,including a homerun to lead Bethune-Cookman past South Carolina State University 13-0 in the series finale.
The Wildcats (20-21, 6-0) swept the Bulldogs (11-21, 0-6) and remained undefeated in the MEAC South Division.
B-CU had a 10-run fifth inning, which Gamch and Rodney combined for five RBIs.
Shanel Tolbert pitched a complete game shutout and both Sabrina Ferguson and Karina Romero was 2-for-3 with two RBIs for B-CU.
The previous day the Wildcats swept a double header winning 4-0 and 7-2.
Tolbert pitched a complete game shutout while Gamch went 3-for-4 with an RBI, Rodney 2-for-4 with an RBI and Michelle Banuelos Smith 2-for-4 for B-CU in the first game.
In the second game, Banuelos Smith led the Wildcats going 2-for-4 with three RBI’s while Romero was 3-for-4 and Tolbert got the win.
For their performances, Banuelos-Smith was named MEAC Player of the Week and Romero was the MEAC Rookie of the Week.
Banuelos-Smith hit .545 with four RBIs and four doubles while Romero hit .545 with two RBIs and three runs scored for the week.
The Ladies were to host the University of North Florida (23-18) on Wednesday.
Football: Spring game set
The Wildcats’ spring football game takes place on Saturday, April 21 at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach at 4 p.m.
Tickets are $5 for general admission and students $1 with B-CU student ID.
Other activities will include the annual Pros vs. Joes celebrity basketball game featuring NFL All-Pro defensive back Nick Collins of the Green Bay Packers and All-Pro kick returner Eric Weems of the Chicago Bears on Friday, April 20 at Moore Gym on the B-CU campus.
An alumni game between the B-CU band and football team featuring a halftime show with alumni drum majors and the 14k dancers also will take place.
Track and Field: Wildcats to host meet
Bethune-Cookman will have its only home meet of the season on Saturday, April 14, at 10 a.m. at Seabreeze High in Daytona Beach.
he B-CU Invitational will include Albany State University, College of the Bahamas, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Warner University, Paine College, Florida Memorial University, Edward Waters College and Voorhees College.