TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida A&M (23-14, 13-4 MEAC) bullpen allowed eight runs over the final two innings of game two, after leading 5-2, to split the doubleheader with Savannah State (10-30, 5-9 MEAC) by scores of 11-4 and 5-10 at Moore-Kittles Field on Saturday. Marlon Gibbs was 4-for-4 at the plate in game one with two doubles and five RBI to lead the Rattler offense. In game two, Jacky Miles, Jr. went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Alec Wong and Dylan Dillard each also had two RBI in game one.
Danny Rodriguez (4-2) picked up the win in game one for FAMU after working 1.2 innings of relief with just one run on no hits, with three strikeouts and two walks. Kendal Weeks (1-1) took the loss in game two after giving up four runs on three hits in the sixth inning with one walk and one strikeout.
SSU scored first in game one with two runs in the top of the fifth inning for a 2-0 lead. With one out, Jacob Lightle went down swinging, but the ball skipped away from catcher Miles, Jr. allowing Lightle to reach first base. Bernard Barnes then followed with a double deep down the left line as runners were now on second and third with one out. After a strikeout for the second out, Trey Sikes took a pitch in the arm to load the bases. Jonathan Moore was then able to beat out the throw to first base as Lightle scored from first for the first run of the game. The throw to first trying to get Moore went over the head of Brian Davis allowing Barnes to also come around to score from second.
The Rattlers answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 2-2. Ben Ellzey was hit-by-pitch to open the home half of the fifth inning and Willis McDaniel singled through the left side with one out. Marlon Gibbs would then walk on five pitches to load the bases before Alec Wong ripped a two-run single up the middle to bring home both Ellzey and McDaniel.
FAMU grabbed its’ first lead of the day with five runs on three hits in the sixth inning to take a 7-2 lead. Miles, Jr. led off with a walk and Cameron Johnson then dropped in a bloop single just past the shortstop. Both runners advanced on a passed ball and Miles, Jr. came home to score the go-ahead run from third on a nicely placed fielder’s choice sacrifice bunt from Ellzey. Shane Gordon came in to pinch run for Johnson and with runners on second and third as Gibbs plated both runners with a two RBI single up the middle. Gibbs stole second before Dylan Dillard doubled home both Gibbs and Wong with a ball to left center field.
Savannah State would pick up a single run in the seventh inning to cut the Rattler lead to 7-3. Barnes walked on four pitches with one out and went to third after a pair of wild pitches. Sikes also walked to place runners on the corners with two outs and Moore scored Barnes with an RBI single to center field.
The Rattlers scored their final four runs of game one in the seventh inning to increase their lead to 11-3. Gordon and Ellzey were hit-by-pitch in back-to-back at bats with one out and McDaniel drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Gibbs would clear the bases with his second double of the game, this time down the right line as three runs came home. Gibbs later scored from second on a high pop up from Wong that fell into play as it was misplayed by the second baseman.
The Tigers scored one final run in the top of the ninth inning off of FAMU reliever Cameron Sims for the final score of 11-4.
NCCU starter Austin Robinson (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season after he pitched 5.2 innings and allowed six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts, three walks and hit one batter.
In game two, SSU grabbed a quick lead with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning for a score of 2-0. Brian Miller led off the game with a single up the middle and with one out, Moore reached on a bunt single to put runners at first and second. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Miller would later score on a sac fly to center field from Mendez Elder. Moore was also able to score on a strikeout - wild pitch to Jakeel Daniels.
Florida A&M came right back to take the lead at 4-2 with four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Gibbs drew a leadoff walk, Wong followed with a double that just dropped in to a gap in left center and Dillard walked to load the bases with no outs. Still with no outs, Davis was then hit-by-pitch to plate Gibbs from third and Miles, Jr. scored Wong with an RBI single to right field. Dillard and Davis were both came home to score on a pair of back-to-back sac flies to center from Ellzey and Gordon.
The Rattlers tacked on another run in the fourth inning to push the lead to 5-2. Miles, Jr. singled to right field to start the inning and Gordon reached on a fielder’s choice as a throwing error by the third baseman trying to throw out Miles, Jr. at second sailed into right field. AJ Elkins then put down a fantastic sac bunt up the first base line allowing Miles, Jr. to score from third.
With FAMU seemingly in control of the game, SSU used a big sixth inning to take the lead at 7-5 with five runs on four hits. Elder started things off with a single to left field and with a 2-0 count to Daniels, Kendal Weeks came in for relief of Page. Daniels was hit-by-pitch to put runners at first and second with no outs. Barnes would reach on a fielder’s choice as Elder was out at third on the force out for the first out of the inning. Somto Egbuna loaded the bases with one out after being walked before Cole Bruce cleared the bases with a single to center field. A fielding error by McDaniel allowed Bruce to advance to second and the tying run to score. Bruce would come home on an RBI triple from Malcom Moore.
Savannah State pushed the game out of reach with three unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning in what proved to be the final score of 10-5.
FAMU made one last push as it worked the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh inning. With the would-be tying run on deck and the bases loaded, Miles, Jr. flew out to right field to end the game.
Justin Washington (1-2) earned his first win of the season after holding the Rattlers scoreless on three hits over 2.1 innings with two walks.
Florida A&M and Savannah State close out the three-game series on Sunday at 1:00 PM at Moore-Kittles Field.Sunday’s game will be carried on WTAL 1450 AM in Tallahassee and fans can listen online at WTAL1450.com by clicking the “Listen” link at the bottom of the page.
***Courtesy FAMU Athletics