BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Bethune-Cookman opened Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play by sweeping a three game series from archrival Florida A&M.
“It’s always good to start off well in the conference and get things rolling the right way. We are in a good position. We want to get better each game and improve as the season goes along to get where we want to be,” said Jason Beverlin, B-CU’s head baseball coach.
Spruce Creek High alum Scott Garner pitched a complete game shutout for the Wildcats in a 7-0 victory in game two of a double header on March 2.
“It was good to throw strikes and go long to help our team. We needed a good outing form our pitching staff,” responded Garner.
“Scott threw the ball excellent. He rebounded from his last outing. He was tough and kept control,” added Beverlin.
Wildcats strike early
B-CU (6-6, 3-0) struck early with a four run fourth inning to lead 4-0. In the inning, Anthony Stokes had a two-run double and Matt Noble an RBI single.
Stokes finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored while Noble was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Kelvin Singletary, Hunter Barfield, Kendal Weeks and Marlon Gibbs each had a hit for FAMU.
The Wildcats won the first game 8-6 despite having only three hits while the Rattlers hurt themselves with six errors.
B-CU led 5-0 after six innings as pitcher Ali Simpson was shutting down FAMU.
“We were fortunate to win that first game. We definitely played our best, but we were fortunate to win it. Ali was cruising, but he got in trouble later due to location,’’ commented Beverlin.
Rally by Rattlers
Florida A&M (0-11, 0-3) rallied to take a 6-5 lead after Marlon Gibbs double and scored on an error and Kendal Weeks grounded out to second to drive in a run in the top of the seventh inning.
Shaun McCarthy reached first on an error to score Matt Noble to give B-CU a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the eight inning.
Jordan Dailey pitched one and two-thirds innings in relief to get the win, Josh Johnson had a hit and two RBIs, Noble and Chris Biocic each had a hit and RBI apiece and Stokes an RBI for the Wildcats.
Josh Garrett went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Gibbs went 2-for-4 and Jared Walker had a hit with an RBI and two runs scored for the Rattlers.
B-CU took down FAMU 3-2 in the series finale the next day.
Noble went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Eros Modena 2-for-4, Stokes 1-for-2 with an RBI and freshman Byron Ferguson got his first career win on the mound pitching two scoreless innings in relief for the Wildcats.
Weeks was 2-for-4 while Reginald Grant and Ryan Debi each had a hit an RBI for FAMU.
The Wildcats hosted Central Michigan on March 5-6 and will travel to North Carolina Central on March 9-10.
Basketball: Wildcats fall on the road
The road wasn’t kind to either of Bethune-Cookman’s basketball programs this past week.
The men’s team suffered a heartbreaking 62-61 defeat to Norfolk State who remains unbeaten in MEAC play on March 1 and fell to Hampton 75-66 on Monday.
Adrien Coleman had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Javoris Bryant 12 points with 10 rebounds and Allen Dempster a career-high 14 points for B-CU against Hampton.
Against Norfolk State, Paul Scotland led the way with 16 points while Coleman and Kevin Dukes each had 12 and Alex Smith nine points with eight boards for the Wildcats.
The Lady Wildcats only scored 68 points in two games falling to Norfolk State 67-40 and Hampton 74-28.
Chastity Taylor tallied 19 points and Shaekyia Colyer 11 for B-CU against Norfolk. Sharnese Neal scored 12 points to pace the Wildcats against Hampton.
Both teams play at Coppin State on March 7 to end the regular season. Both programs will compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament in Norfolk, Va., from March 11-16.
Softball: Ladies split home opener
Bethune-Cookman (3-13) split a double header with Niagara (2-7) in a home opener on March 3.
The Lady Wildcats exploded for a seven run fourth inning to win the first game 10-2.
Calesha Shelly went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored while Sophia Ortega was 2-for2 with two runs scored for B-CU.
Shanel Tolbert got the win on the mound while Auriela Gamch and Michelle Banuelos-Smith each had a hit and RBI for the Lady Wildcats.
In the second game, Gamch, Simone Ceasar, Kelsi Rodney, Melissa Berouty and Breanna Chavez each had a hit for B-CU in a 5-2 loss.
The Ladies hosted Providence and Boston College on March 6 and 7 respectively. They hit the road from March 10-13 before returning home to face Cornell and Monmouth on March 18-19.