TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M (17-9, 7-1 MEAC) scored 22 runs and pounded out 23 hits to sweep a doubleheader over North Carolina Central (13-16, 5-6 MEAC) by scores of 6-3 and 16-4 at Moore-Kittles Field on Saturday. In game one, the Rattlers rallied to score five runs in the eighth inning to secure the win. Marlon Gibbs drew a bases loaded walk in the eighth inning to plate Willis McDaniel for the go-ahead run. In game two, FAMU scored 13 runs in the fourth and fifth innings to put the game away. Alec Wong had two home runs in game two and seven different Rattlers recorded two hits in the game.
FAMU reliever Hunter Fillingim (2-0) earned the game one win after working 2/3 of an inning with no runs allowed, but walked two batters. Kendal Weeks came in to record the final two outs, including a strikeout to end the game, for his second save of the season. Game one starter Ryan Anderson pitched a season long 5.1 innings and allowed two unearned runs on six hits and tied a season best with three strikeouts. Anderson also tied a season high with three strikeouts.
Ricky Page (2-2) picked up the win in game two as he worked five innings and gave up three runs (one earned) with three strikeouts and four walks.
The Eagles scored first with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second inning of game one. Conrad Kovalcik singled off the leg of pitcher Ryan Anderson with two outs and Christian Triplett followed with a single to left to put runners on first and second. Sisqo Scott reached on an error that would have ended the inning to load the bases and Jacobi Harris was hit-by-pitch to score Kovalcik from third. Triplett would score the second run of the inning on an RBI single from Ellington Hopkins.
FAMU was able to get on the board with a single run in the fourth inning to make the score 2-1. Jacky Miles, Jr. led off with a single into left field and advanced to third as McDaniel followed with a single into center field. Miles, Jr. then scored from third forFAMU’s first run of the game as Ryan Hutson grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
NC Central scored another unearned run in the eighth inning to increase its’ lead to 3-1.
FAMU took their first lead for good with five runs in the eighth inning in what proved to be the final score of 6-3. Dillard led off with a walk and Ben Ellzey was hit-by-pitch to start the inning for the Rattlers. Both runners advanced with a sac bunt from Miles, Jr. before McDaniel hit a two-run triple up against the fence in right field to bring home both Dillard and Ellzey. Cameron Johnson would then draw a pinch-hit walk to put runners on the corners with one out. AJ Elkins came in to pinch run at first base for Johnson and after a pitching change that brought in Grant Cain in for relief of Jamar Hinton, Peter Jackson also drew a walk on four pitches to load the bases. With the bases still loaded, Gibbs was also walked to plate McDaniel for the go-ahead run. Wong was then hit-by-pitch, the third straight free pass of the inning, to plate Elkins for the fourth run in the inning. Dillard was then hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded to score Jackson for the final FAMU run of game one.
NCCU reliever Jamar Hinton (1-1) pitched 2/3 of an inning and allowed four runs on one hit with two walks for the loss. Game one starter Alex Dandridge worked a no decision with six innings pitched and gave up just one run on six hits with three strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter.
In game two, FAMU scored first on Wong’s solo home run to right field, in the first inning, for a quick 1-0 lead. It was the second home run of the season for Wong. Florida A&M tacked on another run in the second inning on an RBI double from Ryan Hutson to increase the lead to 2-0.
NC Central tied the game with two unearned runs in the third inning. Jacobi Harris and Hopkins recorded back-to-back singles to start the inning and a sac bunt by James Dey was misplayed by pitcher Ricky Page that loaded the bases. A pair of RBI fielder’s choice plays with the lead runner out at second allowed the two runs to score from third base.
Florida A&M regained the lead, at 3-2, with a single run in the third inning, but NCCU would answer right back to tie the game again at 3-3 with a run in the fourth inning.
FAMU broke the game open for good with nine runs in the fourth inning to make the score 12-3. Miles, Jr. had a three-run triple; McDaniel and Hutson added RBI doubles and Brian Davis had an RBI single in the inning.
The scoring continued in the fifth inning as the Rattlers scored four more runs that made the score 16-3. Wong hit his second home run of the day, a two-run blast, to right field to increase the FAMU lead to 14-3. Back-to-back walks with no outs forced a pitching change as Joshua Greene came in for relief of reliever Carter Kovalcik. Ellzey then singled through the left side to load the bases and Johnson’s pinch-hit RBI single plated Keith Stevens, who pinch ran earlier in the inning for Dillard. AJ Elkins later brought home Davis with an RBI single to left field for the fourth run of the inning.
North Carolina Central would score one more run in the seventh inning as Hopkins led off with a solo home run to right field for the final score of 16-4.
Eagles game two starter Andrew Vernon (0-3) suffered the loss as he gave up 11 runs (five earned) on nine hits with five strikeouts and four walks.
Florida A&M and NC Central close out the three-game series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 PM.
***Courtesy FAMU Athletics