Florida A&M opened its season with a 9-4 win over Marshall in front
of 540 fans – more than double the 2015 opening day crowd.
The Rattler offense came out to play in the opener as six different players recorded multi-hit performances. Seniors Alec Wong and Ryan Hutson each went 3-for-4, while Wong had two RBI and Hutson added an RBI himself. Marlon Gibbs, Dylan Dillard, Willis McDaniel and Peter Jackson each had two hits on the day. Freshman McDaniel belted a home run in his first career at bat as a Rattler.
The Thundering Herd made an early statement by jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on back-to-back home runs. With two outs, Sam Finfer was hit-by-pitch to give the Herd their first base runner before Tyler Ratliff and Tommy Lane then recorded back-to-back home runs that gave Marshall a quick three run lead.
FAMU answered with two runs in the home half of the first inning to cut Marshall’s lead to 3-2. Gibbs led off the bottom of the first with a double down the left line. Gibbs then moved to third on a single to left from Jacky Miles, Jr. before coming home to score as Brian Davis reached on a fielder’s choice. Davis later came around to score, all the way from first, on Dylan Dillard’s RBI single into right field.
The Rattlers took their first lead of the game, at 5-3, with three runs on five hits in the second inning. It proved to be all they would need for the win. In his first career at bat, McDaniel led off the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run over the fence in left field to tie the game at 3-3. Hutson then singled to left and Jackson singled through the left side to put two runners on with no outs.
Gibbs bunt single with no outs loaded the bases before Wong’s RBI single plated Hutson to give FAMU their first lead of the game. Jackson then scored on Miles, Jr.’s sac fly to left to push the Rattler lead to two runs.
Florida A&M extended its’ lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the third inning with two more runs, on three hits, including one Herd error in the inning by the right fielder Cory Garrastazu. Hutson and Wong each had RBI singles in the inning to pace the offense.
Marshall picked up a run in the seventh inning to cut the Rattler lead to 7-4. Aaron Bossi singled up the middle with one out and advanced to second as Leo Valenti grounded out to third. Bossi then went to third on a passed ball before scoring on Corey Bird’s RBI single up the middle.
FAMU answered right back with a single run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Shane Gordon came in to pinch hit in the DH spot of the lineup and led off with a triple to center field. Dillard then followed with and RBI single up the middle to bring home Gordon from third and make the score 8-4.
The Rattlers would add one more run in the eighth inning for a final score of 9-4.
Herd starter Chase Boster (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing seven runs, all earned, in 2.2 innings of work. Boster had two strikeouts and no walks against the 20 batters he faced.
Florida A&M and Marshall return to the field tomorrow at 1:00 PM at Moore-Kittles Field for game two of the three game series.
As always, fans can follow Rattler Baseball on Twitter @BaseballFAMU and on Facebook, while live stats will be available via www.FAMUAthletics.com on the baseball schedule page.
COURTESY FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS MEDIA RELATIONS