Bethune Cookman Still No. 1 in BCB Poll

By Tony McClean
Updated: March 12, 2008

BlackCollegeBaseball.comNEW HAVEN, Ct. – While Bethune Cookman (7-5) still remains the number one team in the latest Black College’s Top 10 poll, two teams in the SWAC have made significant moves from within.

Alcorn State (10-1) and Grambling State (5-6) are now sitting two and three respectively in this week’s poll. The Braves jumped one spot from last week after going from nine to three two weeks ago.

The Tigers made the biggest leap from last week (from 10th to third) after taking two of three games from Prairie View (10-4), who are fourth in the newest poll. Timely hitting and a stellar pitching performances proved to be the difference as GSU swept PVAM in Saturday’s doubleheader.

In the opener, Mario Jefferson (nine strikeouts) threw a one-hit shutout and Mychal Roby belted a three-run homer as GSU shutout Prairie View 3-0. Game two came down to the wire as the Tigers held off an intense rally by the Panthers to capture a 4-2 win.

GSU’s quest for a sweep was denied as Prairie View belted back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth for a 10-9 decision on Sunday afternoon. Holding a one-run lead, GSU reliever Matt Morales and PV leadoff hitter Greg Ford went back-and-forth to open the ninth as Ford fouled off several balls on a full count.

Ford would get the best of Morales and homered to right center to tie the contest at 9-9. One batter later, catcher Brandon Whitby followed with a homer to left to clinch the win for the Panthers.

As for the rest of the poll, Norfolk State (6-4) is fifth, Jackson State (8-6) is sixth, Savannah State (6-6) is seventh, Mississippi Valley State (5-3) is eighth, Southern (3-5) is ninth, and North Carolina A&T (3-9) rounds out the poll at No. 10.

Bethune Cookman’s Jose Lozada, Chicago State’s Josh Appelbaum, and Edward Waters Charles Thomas have been selected as the Black College’s Co-Players of the Week. Also, BCC’s Joseph “Gio” Gautier has been named Pitcher of the Week for his performances during the week of March 3-9.

Lozada was the driving force behind Bethune-Cookman going 4-1 this week with wins over non-conference opponents Georgia Southern and University of South Florida. The Wildcats also used his big bat for a 2-1 series victory over Illinois State at home.

Lozada also slammed 12 hits in 21 at bats while driving in 10 runs.
In a three-game series versus Texas Southern, Appelbaum helped the Cougars go 2-1, which helped improve their overall record to 3-7, already matching last seasons win total.

For the series, Appelbaum had four homers, five RBI, and scored six runs, including a 1.545 slugging percentage for the weekend. On the mound Appelbaum was 1-0 pitching five innings while giving up seven hits, in CSU’s 14-7 victory.

Thomas hit 4 home runs in 2 games this weekend. He had one in Game 1 and three in Game 2. The 6-foot-5 sophomore from Jacksonville also pitched 5 shutout innings against Morehouse College.

It was the pitching performance of Gautier that helped Bethune-Cookman collect a 3-0 shutout over Illinois State in the second game of a doubleheader. Gautier went nine full innings on the mound with a career-high 11 strikeouts and surrendering just three hits.

It was Gautier that collected the last complete-game shutout in 2007 against then No. 1 Savannah State, 8-0.
(Records through March 11)
School Rec Pts LW
1. Bethune-Cookman (13) 7-5 157 1
2. Alcorn State (3) 10-1 144 3
3. Grambling St. 5-6 99 10
4. Prairie View A&M 10-4 97 2
5. Norfolk State 6-4 84 4
6. Jackson State 8-6 82 7
7. Savannah State 6-6 //<![CDATA[ //]]> 76 5
8. Miss. Valley State 5-3 41 6
9. Southern 3-5 36 8
10. North Carolina A&T 3-9 27 9