BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Bethune-Cookman opened Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play with a sweep of North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C.
B-CU (8-27, 2-0) opened the series by taking a doubleheader from Central (2-27, 0-2) by scores of 11-4 and 9-1 on March 30.
Kelsey Rodney led the Wildcats’ charge in the first game going 2-for-4 with four RBIs and four runs scored in the first game.
Michelle Banuelos Smith was also 2-for-5 with two RBIs, Simone Ceasar 3-for-5, Aurelia Gamch 2-for-3 with an RBI, Melissa Berouty 2-for-4 with an RBI, Joana Hernandez drove in two runs and Samantha Gale got the win on the mound for the ‘Cats.
Shanel Tolbert pitched a complete game, Ceasar went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Gamch 2-for-4 and Shelly Engram had a hit and drove in two runs for the Wildcats in game two.
The series finale between the two teams was rained out on both Sunday and Monday.
B-CU hosted Jacksonville on Wednesday and is set to host MEAC opponent South Carolina State from April 6-7.
The Wildcats play one of their final 15 games at home at Sunnyland Park.
Twelve of those games will be conference games with nine at home.
B-CU also will play 12 of those games in the state of Florida with six games against Florida schools.
Baseball drops series to Savannah State
Savannah State University took two of three games from Bethune-Cookman in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Southern Division showdown this past week.
The Wildcats ripped the Tigers 14-2 to take the series finale on March 31.
“We started off well at the plate and kept that mentality and approach the entire game,” said Jason Beverlin, B-CU’s head coach.
Freshman catcher Chris Biocic went 2-for-3 with four RBIs to lead the B-CU attack.
Teammates Matt Noble and Shaun McCarty each were 2-for-3 with two RBIs, David Lee 2-for-3 with an RBI, Eros Modena drove in two runs and Ali Simpson got the win on the mound.
Savannah State took a doubleheader from B-CU a day earlier winning by scores of 14-4 and 3-2.
Modena was 2-for-5 with two RBIs in the first game and Josh Johnson went 3-for-3 in the second game for the Wildcats.
“We had some good swings off their pitcher (Kyle McGowan, 7-0) in the first game but it got away. We had a chance to win the second but had a few mishaps,” said Beverlin.
Biocic Rookie of Week
Biocic was named MEAC Rookie Player of the Week on Monday.
For the week, Biocic hit .429 with a triple, double and five RBIs.
It was his second such accolade this season, as Biocic also received the honor following the first week of the season.
Bethune-Cookman (14-16, 7-5) played North Florida (20-11) on Tuesday and Miami (20-11) on Wednesday.
The Wildcats face Florida A&M in Tallahassee (2-27, 2-10) from April 6-7 before coming home to face Stetson on April 8 and travel to Jacksonville on April 9.
Spring football practice continues
Like many of the nation’s collegiate programs, Bethune-Cookman is holding spring football practices.
The defending MEAC champions will have a total of 13 workout sessions for the spring. They began practice on March 23. Practices are closed to the public.
“It’s going good. We came out the first week with no injuries. The guys paid attention to detail and worked really hard,” said Brian Jenkins, B-CU’s head football coach.
B-CU will hold its spring showcase on April 20 at a time and location to be announced at a later date.
Bowling: Wildcats don’t make tourney
Bethune-Cookman (60-65) didn’t receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Bowling Championships.
The selection show took place on March 27 and the tournament will take place April 11-13 in Canton, Michigan.
B-CU finished the 2012-13 campaign with a 60-65 mark and was ranked 20th in the latest National TinPin Coaches Association poll.
The Wildcats went 2-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Bowling Championship Tournament on March 22-24.
“Our inconsistencies prevented us from playing for a national title. We will continue to work hard and move forward. We have a lot of talent returning next year with a lot of experience. We also have a good recruiting class,” said Tony O’Neal, B-CU’s head bowling coach.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore won the MEAC title and earned an at large bid to the NCAA Championships.
It’s the 10th straight year that the Hawks have made it to the national championship tournament. They are the two-time defending national champion.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is the No. 2 seed and the only HBCU team in the tournament.
Central Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Sam Houston State, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Farleigh Dickerson also will compete for the national title.