TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Rattlers (8-3) dropped a back and forth affair to the Buccaneers (7-3) on Saturday afternoon at Moore-Kittles Field by a score of 10-8. Florida A&M committed four costly errors on the afternoon, leading to six unearned runs for East Tennessee State, and halting the Rattlers’ win streak at six games.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, FAMU committed an error on a routine ground ball to second base to extend the inning. The runner advanced to third on another error on a failed pickoff attempt. After a walk and a stolen base, there were runners on second and third for Chris Cook who singled to left field on a two-strike curveball left over the plate, bringing in two Buccaneer runs for a final score of 10-8.
Florida A&M jumped out to an early lead scoring one run in the bottom of the second and two runs in the bottom of the third. With runners on second and third and one out, Ty Russ delivered a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in the first run of the afternoon. Aubrey McCarty and Willis McDaniel added the second and third runs of the game on RBI singles in the bottom of the third inning, pushing the FAMU lead to 3-0.
The Buccaneers batted around in the top of the fourth inning and scored four runs on three hits and two Rattler errors to take the lead at 4-3. ETSU loaded the bases with no outs after back to back singles and an error. A groundout and a safety squeeze bunt brought home the first two runs of the inning. Then with runners on first and third and two outs, FAMU committed another error on a routine grounder, allowing the runner from third to score. ETSU capped off the inning with a two out single to right center for the fourth run.
After East Tennessee State added another run in the top of the sixth, Florida A&M answered back, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead at 7-5. The Rattlers loaded the bases with one out on singles by Willis McDaniel, Dallas Oliver, and Ty Russ. A passed ball and an error by ETSU catcher allowed two runners to come around to score. John Capra’s RBI groundout brought home the third run, and Ben Ellzey’s RBI single to center after an intentional walk to Brian Davis finished off the scoring.
East Tennessee State scored a single run in the seventh, and two runs in the eighth to regain the lead at 8-7.
The Rattlers tied the game in the bottom of the eighth after Kaycee Reese reached on an error and Capra and Davis recorded back to back singles. The game didn’t remain tied for long however, as the two Florida A&M errors in the top of the ninth proved to be costly.
FAMU starter, Ryan Anderson, worked 6.1 innings and allowed 10 hits and six runs (three earned) in the no decision. Danny Rodriguez (1-1) was tabbed with the loss after giving up two unearned runs in the top of the ninth on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.
The Rattlers had another strong day offensively, recording their eighth double digit hitting performance of the season in only 11 games. Capra (3-for-5, R, RBI), Ellzey (3-for-4, R, RBI), and McDaniel (2-for-3, 2 R, RBI) paced Florida A&M at the plate.
The first four hitters in the Buccaneer lineup combined to go 10-for-20 with four RBI and five runs scored.
Buccaneer reliever Peyton Taylor (2-0) earned the win after throwing two innings and giving up one unearned run on two hits and one strikeout.
Florida A&M and East Tennessee State will play the rubber match of the three-game series tomorrow at 1:00 PM at Moore-Kittles Field.
As always, fans can follow Rattler Baseball on Twitter @BaseballFAMU and on Facebook.