DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 17) – Junior first baseman Tucker Rayburndrove in runs in his last two at-bats to lift the Florida A&M Rattlers to a 9-8 extra inning victory over Delaware State in the elimination bracket of the2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Baseball Championship at Jackie Robinson Stadium Friday afternoon.
The junior first baseman from Minneola, Florida went four for four with three RBIs against Delaware State, belting a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game, 8-8, then slicing an RBI single to right to scoreOctavien Moyer with the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th. Moyer was one of the other hitting stars for FAMU, going three for six, with two RBIs.
Brett Maxwell, Ryan Coscarella, Kaycee Reese and Seyjuan Lawrence each had a hit against Delaware State, with Maxwell and Coscarella also adding an RBI.
The Rattlers (24-32) have one more battle to win before reaching Saturday’s championship round, as they must duel Southern Division rival North Carolina A&Tlater Friday in the elimination bracket final.
The winner of that bout would face Norfolk (Va.) State, a 4-2 winner over North Carolina A&T in the first game Friday afternoon, for the championship on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. A second a deciding game would be played at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday’s title round will be live steamed on FloLive at FloSports.com
FAMU took a 1-0 lead in the third, after Tucker Rayburn tripled and scored when Jared Weber’s grounder to third was misplayed.
But the Hornets put together a six-run fourth on five hits to get out to a 6-1 lead, but the Rattlers were not done just yet.
In the bottom of the sixth, FAMU loaded the bases with none out. Brett Maxwell drew a walk, scoring Willis MDaniel, then Ryan Coscarella hit an RBI single to score Seyjuan Lawrence for a 6-3 score.
Robert Robinson’s fielder’s choice grounder led to a throwing error on a force play, allowing Kaycee Reese to score to make it 6-4. Octavien Moyer followed with a two-run single up the middle, scoring Maxwell and Coscarella to tie the game at 6-6, then Tucker Rayburn followed with an RBI single to score Robinson to give FAMU the lead back at 7-6.
Delaware State (19-25) would not fold, scoring two runs on two hits in the top of the seventh, leaving runners and second and third to go ahead, 8-7. FAMU closer Jeremiah McCollum came on in the seventh, and after giving up a run on a wild pitch, retired three in a row to end the threat.
With two out in the bottom of the eighth, Tucker Rayburn tied the game, 8-8, with a solo homer to right field. Jared Weber then walked and stole second, followed by Willis McDaniel, who singled, putting runners at the corners with two out, before Seyjuan Lawrence ended the inning with a ground out to the shortstop.
In the top of the ninth, DelState got their lead off hitter on via a single, but the Hornets were retired three in a row on two ground outs and a strikeout, leaving the game tied, 8-8.
FAMU left a runner stranded in the bottom of the ninth, but in the 10th, Octavien Moyer lashed a one-out double to set the table for Rayburn, who ripped a single to right to win the game.