BOSTON, Mass. – In a game on television in Fenway Park the FAMU Rattlers Baseball team made major moves. The Florida A&M Rattlers (17-22, 13-8 MEAC) moved into first place in the MEAC Southern Division after completing the sweep over North Carolina Central (19-25, 12-11 MEAC) by a score of 9-4 on Saturday at Fenway Park. The Rattlers scored six runs over the final four innings and Ryan Kennedy’s two-run home run over the Green Monster in the eighth inning sealed the win. The FAMU bullpen held NCCU scoreless and with just three hits over the final 3.2 innings.
Alec Wong led the offense going 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, while Michael Birdsong added a 2-for-4 day at the plate.
Rattler reliever Brandon Fleming (6-1) earned the win after pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief with two hits and a season-high four strikeouts. Starting pitcher Ryan Anderson pitched 5 1/3 innings while allowing four runs on five hits with four walks and one strikeout.
NCCU jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind Christian Triplett’s two-run home run over the Green Monster. Ronald Thompson led off with a walk and Triplett blasted a two-run home run down the left line that was just fair.
The Rattlers grabbed their first lead, at 3-2, with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Jeremy Barlow doubled off the Monster while Peter Jackson and Jared Walker drew back-to-back to load the bases with two outs. Wong then tied the game with a two-run single into right field. Walker broke the tie as he scored on a passed ball that went through the legs of Eagle Catcher Kocalcik.
Florida A&M pushed its’ lead to 4-2 with a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Marlon Gibbs doubled into the left center gap, with one out, and was awarded third on a balk. After Ryan Kennedy walked, AJ Elkins brought home Gibbs with a sacrifice fly to left.
N.C. Central would tie the game at 4-4 with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning. Triplett cut the FAMU lead to 4-3 as he led off the inning with his second home run of the game over the Monster. Eric Kimber quickly followed with a double to right and advanced to third on a sac bunt from Kovalcik. Trevor Theissen then tied the game as he plated Kimber with an RBI single to right. Theissen stole second and took third on the errant throw as Barlow tried to catch Theissen stealing second. Brandon Fleming would come in for relief and struck out the next two batters to keep the game tied.
FAMU broke the game open with three runs in the sixth to make the score 7-4. Jackson walked to start the home half of the sixth and went to second on a sac bunt from Walker. Wong’s single to left would put runners on the corners with one out and Wong later moved to second on a wild pitch. Another wild pitch allowed Jackson to score from third and Wong to go to third. Still with one out, Gibbs walked as runners were now on the corners to force another pitching change as Andrew Vernon came in for the Eagles. Gibbs stole second as Kennedy struck out looking, before Wong came home on a passed ball and Gibbs was able to score on a wild pitch.
Kennedy’s two-run home run into the second row of the Green Monster, in the eighth inning, put the game away by a final score of 9-4.
NCCU reliever Kyle Shields (2-4) suffered the loss after allowing the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. Shields only recorded one out with one walk. Starter Devin Sweet lasted 4 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with five walks and one strikeout.
Florida A&M will be off this week due to finals, but returns to action next weekend at North Carolina A&T for the final MEAC series of the season. Game one is Saturday, May 2 at 5:00 PM ET and the series will conclude with a doubleheader on Sunday, May 3 beginning at noon.