Game 1: Tallahassee, Fl. (May 11th, 2018) – Florida A&M opened up their final regular season weekend series with a 1:00 PM double header against the Aggies of North Carolina A&T at Moore-Kittles Field. The Rattlers and the Aggies came into the weekend with identical conference records of 14-7, fighting for first place in the Southern Division of the MEAC.
North Carolina A&T got on the board early with two runs in the first inning. AJ Hunt drove in Greg White with a single to center field for the first run of the inning. Hunt later scored on a base hit to right by Adan Ordonez to give A&T a 2-0 lead heading to the bottom of the first.
FAMU answered with a run in the bottom of the first. Willis McDaniel led off the inning with a triple to right center and then scored on a groundout to shortstop by Dallas Oliver, making it a 2-1 game after an inning of play.
Brian Davis then hit a three-run homer to right field to drive in Oliver and Jacky Miles in the bottom of the third. Kaycee Reese later drove in John Capra with a single to right field, giving the Rattlers a 5-2 lead after three innings of play.
The Aggies cut into the lead with a run in the top of the fifth as Forest Kimbrell drove in Myles Sowell with a sacrifice fly to right field, making it a 5-3 game headed to the bottom of the fifth.
The Rattlers got the run back in the bottom half thanks to Brian Davis’ second homerun of the day. This one was a solo shot that extended the FAMU lead to 6-3 after five innings.
They extended the lead to 7-3 in the sixth as Ty Russ scored on a throwing error by the shortstop.
NC A&T made it a 7-6 game in the top of the seventh thanks to an AJ Hunt homerun that scored Greg White and Forest Kimbrell.
However, Florida A&M was able to hold on to the one run lead and win by a final score of 7-6. Starting pitcher Thomas Nicoll earned his third win of the season (3-7), allowing six earned runs through 6.2 innings while striking out five. Jamie Grant added 1.1 innings of scoreless relief and Dylan Carlson earned his ninth save of the season, retiring the Aggies in order in the ninth.
Tim Luth was handed the loss for the Aggies after allowing six earned runs through 5 innings of work. Walfrank Pineiro recorded the first two outs of the sixth before Josh Bottenfield entered the game and threw the last 2.1 innings.
Game 2: Tallahassee, Fl. (May 11th, 2018) – Coming off a big win in game one, the Rattlers looked to sweep the Friday double header over the Aggies of North Carolina A&T in game two.
NC A&T got an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a Dawnoven Smith homerun that scored Greg White and Forest Kimbrell.
The Rattlers tied the game up at 3-3 in the bottom half of the first. Brian Davis was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force Willis McDaniel home. Bret Maxwell was then also hit by a pitch to drive Jacky Miles in from third, and Davis later scored on a ground ball to the pitcher by Octavien Moyer.
Kaycee Reese extended the FAMU lead in the third, hitting a three-run homer to left center to drive in John Capra and Octavien Moyer. Dallas Oliver would later drive in Ty Russ with an infield single to the third baseman to give the Rattlers a 7-3 lead after three innings of play.
North Carolina A&T answered with three runs in the top of the fourth. Forest Kimbrell hit a homerun to left field to score Myles Sowell and Justin Williams, making it a 7-6 game in favor of FAMU going to the bottom of the fourth.
The Aggies then took the lead with two runs in the sixth inning. Greg White singled to drive in Myles Sowell and Justin Williams to give NC A&T an 8-7 lead after five and a half innings of play.
Their lead would not last long, as Jacky Miles scored from third on a botched pickoff attempt to first, tying the game at eight runs a piece.
The Aggies regained a 13-8 lead in the top of the seventh thanks in part to a solo homerun to left by Jarrett Norman. Justin Williams later drove in Ryne Stanley and Myles Sowell with a double down the left field line. Williams would then score on a fielding error by the shortstop and James Rorie drove in Greg White with a base hit before the side was finally retired.
NC A&T was able to hold the lead in the bottom of the seventh and win by a final score of 13-8. The Aggies sent a total of six pitchers to the mound in game two, and Josh Bottenfield earned the win, throwing 1.2 scoreless innings to end the game.
Florida A&M relief pitcher Chandellor Benton suffered his second loss of the season (4-2), allowing five runs (three earned) in the top of the seventh inning. Starting pitcher Ryan Anderson allowed six earned runs through 4 innings while striking out five batters and Jamie Grant threw 1.2 scoreless innings of relief.
The double header split brings the Rattlers to 24-27 on the year (15-8 MEAC). Tomorrow’s rubber match will determine the first place winner of the MEAC South Division. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 PM at Moore-Kittles Field.