BY ANDREAS BUTLER
It was a good week on the diamond for the Bethune-Cookman University baseball team. The team went 5-1 from April 2 through April 8.
B-CU swept Florida A&M in a three-game series and picked up wins over Miami and Stetson. The only blemish was a 3-1 defeat to Jacksonville on April 2.
On Monday, Anthony Stokes went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including two homeruns to help lift the Wildcats to a 10-2 win over I-4 rival Stetson at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach.
“I was able to sit on a few pitches. I got a few that I was looking for,” stated Stokes.
Added Jason Beverlin, B-CU’s head baseball coach, “His homeruns were really big and gave us a big lift tonight.’’
Shutout against FAMU
Matt Noble also was 2-for-4 with an RBI, including a solo homerun. Eric Sams went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Brandon Turner was 2-for-4 with an RBI for B-CU.
Montana Durupau picked up the win and Michael Austin got the save on the mound for the Wildcats.
Eros Modena went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Josh Johnson 3-for-5 while Ali Simpson and Jordan Dailey combined for a shutout for B-CU in a 4-0 in the series finale with FAMU on Sunday.
A day earlier, Chris Biocic went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Scott Garner pitched a complete game for B-CU in a 4-1 win over the Rattlers in the fist game, a double header.
The Wildcats ripped the Rattlers 16-3 in the second game as Stokes went 3-for-7 with seven RBIs and Sams 4-for-5 with four RBIs. Stokes hit a grand slam and three-run triple.
Chris Biocic and Shaun McCarthy both were 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Durupau pitched up the win on the mound and Dailey pitched two scoreless innings for the save in a 5-3 win over Miami on April 3.
“It’s big when you can play against a team like this with such intensity and focus like we did. We played hard and came up big,” said Beverlin.
The Wildcats played at Jacksonville late Tuesday, which was after the Daytona Times’ deadline. They return home to face North Carolina Central in a three-game series from April 13-14.
Stokes, Garner honored
Stokes has been on a tear since returning to the lineup last week. During that span, he went 7-for-13 with three homeruns and 10 RBIs.
“He can be a streaky hitter. He did this some last year. His homeruns come in bunches. He is really doing well at the plate right now. We will ride him as long as we can,” said Beverlin.
Added Stokes, “I had some time off and I took some more time in the cages.
I made some use of my rest. I didn’t really change anything at the plate.’’
Stokes was named MEAC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. During the FAMU series alone, Stokes was 4-for-9 with a homerun and seven RBIs.
Meanwhile, Garner received MEAC Pitcher of the Week accolades. He was 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA with a complete game in his start against the Rattlers.
Softball: Tolbert throws no-hitter
Shanel Tolbert threw a no-hitter as Bethune-Cookman shut out South Carolina State 8-0 in a mercy rule five-inning contest on Sunday.
“I had been working towards getting one. My pitches were working today and it finally happened,” responded Tolbert.
“She really hit her spots and had a good mentality out there today,” said Chris Cochrane, B-CU’s head softball coach.
The no-hitter was the first for B-CU since 2007 when Lanaya Jenkins threw one in a 10-0 victory over Jacksonville.
All nine Wildcats batters had a hit led by Michelle Banuelos-Smith who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. One of her hits was a three-run homerun.
Aurelia Gamch was also 2-for-2 with an RBI and Shamaria Engram 2-for-2 for B-CU.
The win gave the Wildcats (11-28, 5-0) a sweep of the three-game series and kept them unbeaten in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.
Tolbert won each game on the mound in the series for B-CU. For her performances, she was named MEAC Pitcher of the Week on Monday.
During the week, Tolbert posted a 3-1 record with a 1.15 ERA. On the season she is 6-20 with a 4.23 ERA but in MEAC play she has a 4-0 mark with a 1.23 ERA.
It was the second time this season that Tolbert garnered the honor.
A day earlier, B-CU beat South Carolina State 4-3 and 9-8 to take a double header.
Gamch went 3-for-4 with an RBI, Calesha Shelly and Simone Ceasar both went 2-for-4 while Kelsey Rodney and Melissa Berouty each had RBI hits in the first game.
The 4-3 win also gave Coach Cochrane her 200th career victory.
Rodney had an RBI double, Banuelos-Smith a two-run triple and Gamch two hits in the second game.
The Wildcats traveled to North Florida on Wednesday and will return home to face the University of Central Florida on April 17 and North Carolina A&T from April 20-21.