DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Florida A&M (11-4, 2-1) split a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon with Bethune-Cookman (9-6, 1-2) by scores of 4-3 and 1-5 at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida. Junior Aubrey McCarty was the difference in Game 1 as he smashed his second and third homeruns of the year.
The Rattlers gutted out another win in their fourth extra-inning game of the season in Game 1.
With the score knotted at three apiece, McCarty launched his second homerun of the day in the top of the 11th inning, breaking a four-inning scoreless streak for both teams, putting the Rattlers out in front for a final score of 4-3.
Florida A&M jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, scoring single runs in the second and third innings. In both frames the Rattlers loaded the bases with no outs after three consecutive singles. Austin Michaud drove in the first run of the game in the second inning on his RBI sacrifice fly, and Ben Ellzey drove in the second run with another sacrifice fly in the third.
Bethune-Cookman cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. After an error and back to back singles, the Wildcats had the bases loaded and drove in their first run of the afternoon on a sacrifice fly to center field, making the score 2-1.
Aubrey McCarty extended the Florida A&M lead back to two runs with his first homerun of the day, and second of the season, a no-doubter to right field, into the wind.
Bethune-Cookman tied the game with two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth, and the score would remain locked at 3-3 until McCarty’s go-ahead homerun in the 11th.
Hunter Fillingim (1-0) was remarkable out of the bullpen. With Wildcat runners on second and third with no outs, Fillingim tight-roped out of trouble, recording two strikeouts and groundout to end the bottom of the tenth inning.
Fillingim then closed things out in the 11th, clinching the series victory for the Rattlers. The redshirt junior finished the day with two strikeouts and only one hit allowed in two scoreless innings pitched.
Bethune-Cookman answered, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Chase DeBonis brought in the first run on an RBI single to right field, then Trent Nash contributed with an RBI groundout. The Wildcats scored their final run on a throwing error by the Florida A&M catcher on a dropped third strike, putting Bethune-Cookman in front by a score of 3-1.
The Wildcats added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a final score of 5-1 on a two-out 2-RBI double.
FAMU couldn’t solve Bethune-Cookman starter Tyler Norris (2-0) in Game 2. Norris pitched a complete game and limited the Rattlers to one run on only five hits with five strikeouts. It was only the fourth game of the 2017 season that Florida A&M did not record double digit hits.
Ryan Anderson put together his best start of the season in Game 1 but did not factor into the decision. The junior had a season high six strikeouts in seven innings pitched and only allowed one earned run.
Ivan Coutinho (1-1) suffered the loss in Game 1 after throwing 3.2 innings of relief and allowing one run with five strikeouts. Aubrey McCarty (1-1) was tabbed with the loss in Game 2 giving up four runs (three earned) in five innings.
McCarty led the way at the plate, finishing the day with four hits, two homeruns, four runs scored, and two RBI. Garrett Wilkinson added two hits in Game 1.
Florida A&M will host Jacksonville at Moore-Kittles Field on Tuesday at 5:00 PM before returning to MEAC play next weekend at home against Savannah State.
As always, fans can follow Rattler Baseball on Twitter @BaseballFAMU and on Facebook.