Bethune-Cookman eliminates Grambling State at SWAC Tourney
ATLANTA – Colton Olasin was 3-for-4 with four RBIs, while Santiago Gomez went five strong innings on the bump for Bethune-Cookman on Saturday afternoon in helping the Wildcats secure a 14-4 victory over Grambling State and advance to the title game of the 2023 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Tournament at Russ Chandler Stadium on the campus of Georgia Tech. Sunday’s title game will be between BCU and Florida A&M at 1 p.m., with the game being shown on ESPN3.
Timely hits. Strong starting pitching. And good fielding all played a part for the Wildcats – seeded No. 2 in the Eastern Division, on Saturday at Mac Nease Baseball Park.
Grambling State (25-25) led early-on by plating a pair of runs in the home-half of the first inning.
Kyle Walker smacked a double to left field while first baseman Cameron Bufford walked, with both eventually coming around to score on a triple off the wall in left from Trevor Hatton. That allowed the top-seeded Tigers from the Western Division a 2-0 lead after an inning played.
Bethune-Cookman (33-26) would tie things up in the top of the second inning with two runs of their own.
Boris Peña and Robert Moya each led off the Wildcats at-bat with back-to-back singles. A Colton Olasin single to centerfield allowed Peña to score. Jeremy Garcia followed with an infield second to second base, pushing in Moya to even the ballgame.
The Wildcats took the lead 3-2 after Garret Chun took an RBI base on balls with four-straight pitches and the bases loaded. The lead would grow to 6-2 off the end of a two-out bases-clearing double off the centerfield wall by Hylan Hall that scored Chun, Garcia and Luis Tuero, respectively.
BCU added three runs in the top of the third inning to widen the lead at 9-2.
Moya singled and Manny Souffrain doubled to left, and the lead stretched to 7-2 at that point in favor of the Wildcats. Irvin Escobar tallied an RBI single in his at-bat to put runners on the corners. That set the stage for Olasin to pick up a run-scoring double down the line in left bringing in Souffrain. A Garcia sacrifice fly to right field was deep enough for Escobar to score and make it 9-2.
The Cats would produce another big inning in the top of the fourth with five runs.
Escobar doubled following a Souffrain walk to put runners on the corners. Olasin immediately followed with a two-run single up the middle to make it 11-2. Chun delivered an RBI single with a hot shot through the left side, bringing in Olasin from third. A Hall single to right center crossed Garcia. And a Peña sacrifice fly allowed Tuero to come in from third and advance the BCU lead to 14-2.
That inning for the Maroon and Gold was good enough to put the run-rule into effect.
Grambling produced the final score line of 14-4 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh, using an RBI base on balls drawn by Walker with the bases loaded to score reserve third baseman Daylon Ardoin. The final run was scored courtesy a Bufford single that plated Julian Murphy.
It would be Yoansell Diaz toeing the rubber in relief to get the final three batters with strikeouts.
The win went to BCU starter Santiago Gomez as he upped his record to 2-3 for the season. The right-hander worked five innings, giving up just two runs on three hits, three walks and picking up three strikeouts. The loss went to Grambling starter Lorenzo Petersen, with the Tigers ace throwing just 1.2 innings, allowing six runs on five hits, two walks and adding one strikeout.
The BCU bats were charged by Olasin’s 3-for-4 effort as he added our RBIs and two runs scored of his own. Hall added two hits and four RBIs, while Escobar also supplied two hits for the Cats. Chin punched in two RBIs on one hit, going on to score one run.
The Wildcats now face in-state opponent Florida A&M in the SWAC Championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m.