DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Stetson baseball team (15-18, 4-5) fell to Volusia County rival Bethune-Cookman (19-7) by a score of 10-2 on Monday night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, evening the season series at one game apiece.
“You tip your hat to Bethune,” said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn, who coached in his 2,000th game at the helm of the Hatter program on Monday. “They were just a lot better than we were tonight. It’s disappointing because we came off of two solid wins, but we’re piecing our pitching together, so that’s what happens. We have to stay with it.”
Building on their success at Jacksonville this weekend, the Hatters struck first on Monday, scoring a lone run in the top of the first. After freshman Kevin Fagan singled to lead off the frame, and sophomore Tyler Bocock walked, it was a single to center by senior James Rasmussen that drove in the first run of the game.
The Wildcats countered in the second inning, scoring two runs to take a 2-1 lead. On back-to-back at bats, and back-to-back pitches in fact, Anthony Stokes and Matt Noble recorded a pair of solo shots off of Stetson starting pitcher senior Chad Rood.
After B-CU added one in the bottom of the third to extend its lead to 3-1, Stetson came back with a single run in the top of the fourth to make it 3-2. This time it was freshman Carlos Garmendia starting the rally with a single through the infield. After senior Mitchel Brennan singled up the middle, a Bethune error scored Garmendia from second.
Rood hit back-to-back batters to start the fifth inning, and after a sacrifice advanced the runners to second and third, freshman Josh Thorne came on in relief. The right-hander got Stetson out of the jam with a fly out and a strikeout to end the frame.
It was in the sixth that Thorne got into trouble himself. He walked Eric Sams on four straight pitches to put the leadoff man on. A second home run by Stokes, the most recent MEAC Player of the Week, followed by a single from Matt Noble led to senior Joe Dye relieving Thorne.
Three straight ground outs would have ended the inning, but a muffed catch at first base by freshman Patrick Mazeika allowed Noble to score, which made it 6-2 in favor of the Wildcats.
The mistake was a slight blemish on what was otherwise another great night for Mazeika. The freshman extended his hitting streak to 17 games while going three-for-five at the plate, and increasing his season batting average to .392.
Bethune added four runs in the bottom of the eighth to finish with the 10-2 victory, avenging a 7-2 loss to the Hatters in DeLand on March 12.
Montana Durapau improved to 5-3 on the season, allowing one earned run on seven hits while striking out four and walking one in a six-inning start. Michael Austin earned the save after allowing no runs on just three hits in three innings of relief. Rood fell to 0-2 on the season with the loss after allowing two earned runs on four hits in 4.1 innings.
“We just got beat tonight,” Dunn continued. “Bethune certainly outpitched us. Durapau’s pretty good. I thought we did a great job with him early, and got some base hits, but even after they put three up we were right there.
“Then we go out there and walk a guy on four pitches, then give up a homer, we drop the ball at first, and all of the sudden a 3-2 ball game becomes 6-2,” Dunn went on to say. “We got outpitched, we got outhit, and we got out-homered. When that happens you’re going to get beat.”
Stetson will continue this nine-game road trip on Wednesday at Miami. The Hatters and the Hurricanes are scheduled to being at 6:00 p.m. from Alex Rodriguez Park.