May 16, 2008

Around the Bases

Around the Tournaments - MEAC
Top-seeded Bethune-Cookman opens with MEAC win


By Chuck Curti,

Special to


NORFOLK, Va. -- Top seed Bethune-Cookman didn’t waste any time showing it’s more than ready to defend its MEAC baseball title.


Osvaldo Torres hit a bases-clearing triple in the first inning, and that was more than enough for starting pitcher Hiram Burgos and reliever Joseph Munoz. The Wildcats cruised past Maryland-Eastern Shore, 13-1, in the opener of the 2008 MEAC Tournament Thursday at Norfolk State University’s Marty L. Miller Field.


“It’s always good,” said B-C coach Mervyl Melendez about getting that first win. “You have to treat every game important. We took care of business.”


UMES, already a long shot as the No. 6 seed, opened the game without the services of starters Phil Vaughn and Jorge Pichardo. Both players were barred from starting for disciplinary reasons. Vaughn came on in the fourth inning, while Pichardo spent the entire game on the bench.


By the time Vaughn entered the game, the damage had been done. Jose Ortiz led off the Wildcats’ half of the first with a double, Justin Hoyte walked and MEAC Player of the Year Jose Lozada singled to load the bases. Torres followed with a sinking liner to center field that got past a diving Tyler Love and rolled to the warning track.


By the time the ball returned to the infield, three runs were across the plate, and Torres was standing on third.


Torres drove in four runs total, and Lozada drove in a pair in the four-run seventh that triggered the 12-run mercy rule. Lozada had three RBI total.


“You’re counting on those guys,” said Melendez. “Some times you have unsung heroes, but those are the guys who have done it all year.”


UMES got its only run of the game in the fifth when Vaughn scored on an error on Mark Brooks, who overthrew first base while trying to turn a double play.


The win gave Bethune-Cookman a bye into Saturday’s action, while UMES will take on the Norfolk State-North Carolina A&T loser Friday at 10 a.m.