GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Bethune-Cookman’s wondrous run through the 2017 NCAA Gainesville Regional ended Monday with a 6-1 loss to the host University of Florida before a McKethan Stadium crowd of 2,166 and an internet thoroughly enamored by the Wildcats’ bleached beards. And calm demeanor, despite the situation. And passion. And, well, everything about the program.
After losing to Bethune-Cookman for the first time in 31 meetings on Sunday night, the No. 3 national seed Florida Gators (45-17) got a three-run homer and a solid pitching effort from freshman lefty Austin Langworthy to advance to next weekend’s Super Regionals, where they will host Wake Forest beginning Friday.
Bethune-Cookman, which defeated two nationally ranked teams in USF and Florida on Sunday and posted more regional victories (three) in 36 hours than the two in the previous 36 years, concludes the season at 36-25 with its 19th Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship. The 36 victories are the most in season in the Jason Beverlin era and third-most in program history.
Langworthy’s yard shot broke open a scoreless tie. Before that, Florida put men on second and third on a questionable no-call on an infield error that appeared to cause interference from the batter trotting to first on the pop-up to first baseman Danny Rodriguez.
Bethune-Cookman broke the shutout in the seventh when Kyle Corbin scored from second when Josten Heron beat out a two-out infield single, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
Two teams supposedly all but depleted of pitching put on a defensive display the first five innings.
Bethune-Cookman forced Florida to leave eight runners in scoring position before the sixth, while the Gators limited the Wildcats to three hits during that time and seven overall.
Tyler Krull started, working three scoreless innings before yielding to Joseph Calamita. Isaak Gutierrez and Nate Sterijevski also worked relief.
Adonis Lao and Heron each had two hits for the Wildcats.
For the tournament, Sterijevski finished with a .500 average (10-20) with one home run and eight RBI. Lao hit .352 (6-17) while Austin Garcia batted .333 (5-15).