TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M (24-22, 12-8 MEAC) split Saturday's doubleheader with North Carolina Central (21-27, 11-11 MEAC) at Moore-Kittles Field by scores of 5-4 and 5-1. Dallas Oliver led the Rattlers in a comeback, walk-off victory in Game 1, while FAMU was outmatched by NCCU starting pitcher Jonathan Figueroa in Game 2.
Oliver (1-0) was the winning pitcher in Game 1 after he entered in a tie game and pitched a scoreless frame in the top of the tenth inning. Oliver then delivered the game winning RBI on a single up the middle in the home half of the inning as he finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI.
The Rattlers couldn't solve North Carolina Central starter Jonathan Figueroa in Game 2 as the junior right-handed pitcher worked six scoreless innings before being pulled in the bottom of the seventh. After a leadoff walk and a double by Garrett Wilkinson, Figueroa was lifted from the game in favor of Jake McCort who retired the next three Rattler hitters to end the game.
Figueroa (4-5) allowed just one run on five hits with five strikeouts through six innings to pick up the win.
Aubrey McCarty pitched his team-leading third complete game in Game 2, but one big inning cost him as the Eagles tagged him for four runs on four hits in the top of the fourth inning. McCarty (5-4) finished with seven innings pitched and allowed five runs on eight hits.
Florida A&M Game 1 starter Ryan Anderson broke his consecutive win streak on the afternoon. Despite not factoring into the decision, the junior righty gave FAMU 5.1 innings on the mound and surrendered three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts.
Chris Gonnelli (0-5) took the loss for the Eagles in Game 1 after allowing one run on three hits.
The two teams will square off in a rubber match tomorrow at 1:00 PM at Moore-Kittles Field. If the Rattlers win tomorrow they will clinch a spot in the upcoming MEAC Conference Tournament in Salisbury, Maryland.
Game 1 Scoring
The Eagles took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on two, two-out singles and a wild pitch.
FAMU capitalized on back-to-back walks to open the bottom of the third inning to take a 2-1 lead. Kaycee Reese and Russell Rauh both worked walks from Devin Sweet, and Danny Rodriguez advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch plated the first run and Dallas Oliver delivered a sacrifice fly to right to put the Rattlers out in front.
North Carolina Central tied the game in the top of the fifth on a two-out RBI single from Ellington Hopkins. Dominic Cuevas singled to left and stole second base, then came around to score on Hopkins' single to center, knotting the score at 2-2.
Carter Williams gave the Eagles the lead in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI single to center field. NCCU loaded the bases with one out on a hit-by-pitch and back-to-back walks from Ryan Anderson. Thomas Nicoll came in for Anderson and induced a groundball double play to end the inning, but not before Williams gave the Eagles a 3-2 advantage.
Florida A&M rallied in the bottom of the eighth and scored two runs on four hits to take the lead 4-3. Brian Davis led off with a walk and Willis McDaniel advanced him with a sacrifice bunt. FAMU then got four consecutive singles from Kodi Russ, Kaycee Reese, Russell Rauh, and Danny Rodriguez to take the lead.
The Eagles tied the game in the top of the ninth and forced extra innings. Carter Williams led off with a single to right and advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. After a groundout advanced Williams to third, the Rattler bullpen walked three consecutive batters, allowing Williams to score.
Kaycee Reese led off the tenth with a double off the right field fence and Octavien Moyer was hit by a pitch, placing runners on first and second with nobody out. Rodriguez reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt, loading the bases for Oliver who singled up the middle giving the Rattlers the walk-off victory.
Game 2 Scoring
North Carolina Central took control in the top of the fourth inning as they scored four runs on four hits off Florida A&M starter Aubrey McCarty. The Eagles sent nine hitters to the plate in the frame. Evan Holland got the scoring started with an RBI single and Zach Michalski drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly. Conrad Kovalcik capped the scoring off with a two-run double to right center, giving North Carolina Central a 4-0 lead.
The Eagles extended the lead to five in the top of the sixth. After a one-out double, a ground ball advanced the runner to third and a wild pitch allowed the NCCU runner to score.
The Rattlers managed one run in the bottom of the seventh off Figueroa. McDaniel led off with a walk and Wilkinson doubled down the right field line. Reese drove in McDaniel with a groundout to shortstop, before NCCU reliever Jake McCort recorded the final out.
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