|COURTESY FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION|
The 18 hits allowed by B-CU in game one were the most this season by the Wildcats. It also marked the first time in program history that the Wildcats fell due to the mercy rule. Before today’s walk-off home run, Jackson had just hit his first career home run against Toledo on Tuesday. It was the first walk-off home run for Florida A&M since Alec Wong’s walk-off home run against North Carolina A&T on March 28 of last season.
Rattler game one starter Danny Rodriguez (2-0) earned the win after he pitched a season long six innings and allowed just two runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Page was the game two starting pitcher for FAMU and despite the strong outing he was credited with a no decision. Hunter Fillingim (1-0) picked up the win in relief after recording the final out in the top of the ninth inning of game two.
The Wildcats scored first in game one with a single run in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Demetrius Sims and Jameel Edney led off with back-to-back walks and Michael Cruz beat out the back end of a double play ball, as Edney was out at second base. With runners on the corners and one out, Danny Rodriguez then dropped an RBI single into right field to plate Sims from third. FAMU’s Danny Rodriguez then struck out the final two batters in the inning with the bases loaded to keep the damage at one run.
FAMU answered with two runs on five hits in the home half of the first inning to take a 2-1 lead. Marlon Gibbs led off with a ground rule double that bounced over the wall in left center field. With one out, Brian Davis reached on an infield single before Dylan Dillard roped an RBI double down the left line as Davis went to third. Davis then scored the second run of the inning as Ben Ellzey reached on a fielder’s choice, but Dillard was out at third base on the play.
B-CU tied the game at 2-2 with another run in the second inning. Trent Nash led off with a single to left field and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Josten Heron. Nash would later come around to score on a two out RBI single to center from Edney.
The Rattlers jumped out for good by a score of 6-2 with four runs on five straight hits with one out in the second inning. With one out, Jackson, Gibbs and Wong each recorded singles to load the bases. Davis then ripped a two-run single into right field to plate both Jackson and Gibbs, while Wong moved to third. Dillard then scored Wong from third with an RBI double just over the head of the third baseman as Davis went to third. A sac fly to center from Ellzey brought home Davis for the fourth run of the inning.
Florida A&M scored four runs again in the third inning to push the lead to 10-2. Cameron Johnson and AJ Elkins led off with back-to-back singles and Johnson was called out on interference going to third as he ran into the third baseman. Elkins would later score as Gibbs beat out a double play ball. The throw to first on the attempted double play turn went past the first baseman, which allowed Elkins to come home. With runners now on the corners and two outs, Davis blasted his third home run of the season, an opposite field, three-run, home run, over the left field fence.
In the fourth inning, FAMU extended its’ lead to 11-2 on an RBI single from Elkins.
The Rattlers scored for the fifth straight inning as Dillard smoked his third home run of the season, a deep two-run shot to left field, to make the score 13-2 in the fifth inning.
Florida A&M scored its’ final run on their 18th hit of the game to increase the lead to 15-2. Jacky Miles, Jr. was hit-by-pitch and Johnson walked on five pitches to put runners on first and second. After a great sliding catch by the right fielder, Jake Hellweg, Miles, Jr. scored on an errant throw into second as Jackson reached on a fielder’s choice. Wong then ripped an RBI double down the right line to score Johnson.
B-CU scored their final run of game one, an unearned run, in the seventh inning for the final score of 15-3.
Wildcat game one starter German Hernandez (2-1) suffered the loss after he gave up seven runs on 12 hits in two innings of work with one strikeout. Hernandez had only allowed four runs (two earned) on the season coming in to today. Nate Sterijevski (0-1) took the loss in game two after Jackson proved to be the go ahead run on the home run.
In game two, neither team was able to get a runner past second base until the fifth inning when the Rattlers worked the bases loaded. Elkins led off with a single to right and Willis McDaniel followed with a bunt single just past the pitcher. Elkins was picked off at second and Jackson fouled out to third base for the first two outs. McDaniel stole second and took third on a passed ball before Gibbs walked and Wong was hit-by-pitch to load the bases with two outs. Bethune would then make a pitching change as Joseph Calamita came in for relief and was able to get Davis to go down swinging and strand the bases loaded.
The Rattlers had another chance in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on second and one out, but a double play ended the scoring threat. Jackson was hit-by-pitch to start the home half of the seventh inning and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Gibbs. Wong was intentionally walked trying to set up a double play scenario and it worked just as Bethune-Cookman wanted as Davis hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
B-CU took their first lead at 1-0 in the top of the ninth inning. Heron walked and was out at second as Sims reached on a fielder’s choice. Edney was also walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Cruz then recorded an RBI single to into center field to plate Sims from second for the games’ first run.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Elkins led off with a single through the right side and moved to second on a sac bunt from McDaniel. In the next at bat, Jackson fell behind in the count at 1-2, but the next pitch was a hanging breaking ball that he sent over the wall in left center for the walk-off win. The home run was the second of the week and career for Jackson.
Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman close out the three-game series on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
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