JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nathan Disch struck out nine in his first start of the season, but it wasn't enough as Jacksonville University (5-4) fell to Bethune-Cookman (6-2) in walk-off fashion Wednesday night. The Wildcats defeated the Dolphins 5-4.
"When you play a close game, which is the brand of baseball we're going to play, you've got to play clean," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "You've got to catch a baseball when it's hit to you and you've got to throw the ball well. You just have to play clean defense, and we were unable to do that tonight. I thought Disch recovered really well after a shaky first and gave us the start that we needed. He deserved better than what he got tonight."
Bethune-Cookman opened the scoring early with two runs in the first. The Wildcats hit four singles and a fielder's choice in the inning, and led 2-0 after the first.
John Cassala doubled to lead off the second inning and Seth DeWitt continued the good start with a single, but Cassala was picked off trying to run home on DeWitt's hit. DeWitt then scored on back-to-back wild pitches, but the Dolphins couldn't put any more across. Bethune stranded a runner in the bottom of the inning, and after two the Dolphins trailed 2-1.
The starting pitchers went to work over the next two innings, holding the score steady at 2-1 for Bethune. Then the Wildcats increased their lead by a run on a two singles and a sac bunt, and led 3-1 after five innings.
The sixth inning was also scoreless as Disch continued to sit BCU batters down. At one point he retired seven in a row, but the Dolphin bats couldn't capitalize, and after six the Wildcats still led 3-1.
Jacksonville finally got on the board again in the top of the seventh with a solo homer by Nathan Koslowski, but the Wildcats responded with a solo dinger of their own to stretch the lead back to two, 4-2, after seven innings.
The Dolphins loaded the bases in the top of the eighth with one out, and a single to right by Franco Guardascione scored two to knot the game at 4-4, but Alex Seifert was thrown out at third on the same play and the inning ended on a fly out. Shane Wise shut down the Bethune bats in the bottom of the inning, and after eight the two teams were tied at 4 runs apiece.
With one out the Dolphins got Connor Stephens on base on a hit by pitch and Angel Camacho slapped a single to left field that then turned into a double on a Wildcat error. But those runners in scoring position couldn't be converted, and heading into the bottom of the ninth it was still tied 4-4.
Bethune used a leadoff single and a sac bunt to put the winning run in scoring position. The Dolphins then intentionally walked Jordan Stacy (who hit the home run in the seventh), and the next batter hit a walk-off single on a 2-2 pitch. The final from Jackie Robinson Ballpark: Bethune-Cookman 5, Jacksonville 4