DURHAM, NC – Aubrey McCarty’s monster day surged the Rattlers past the Eagles in a 17-5 mercy rule victory on Sunday afternoon at Durham Athletic Park. Florida A&M (16-12, 6-3 MEAC) salvaged a win in the series finale, regaining first place and moving ahead of North Carolina Central (15-14, 7-5 MEAC) in the MEAC Southern Division.
After dropping the first two games of the series in a doubleheader on Saturday, the Rattlers came out with something to prove on Sunday afternoon and scored in bunches. FAMU scored three or more runs in five of seven innings and pounded out 15 hits.
McCarty led the way, finishing 5-for-5 with two home runs, two doubles, seven RBI and four runs scored. The junior switch hitter was just a triple shy of the cycle, and earned the win on the mound after allowing two runs in 4.1 innings in the shortened, seven inning game.
FAMU opened the scoring with four runs on three hits and one error in the top of the second inning. McCarty led off with a double down the left field line. After Dallas Oliver reached on an error, Garrett Wilkinson plated McCarty from third with an RBI single through the left side. Kaycee Reese then reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Octavien Moyer drove in the second run with another fielder’s choice. Russell Rauh then grounded into a double play, scoring Wilkinson, and Willis McDaniel drove an RBI single to left, scoring Reese, pushing the FAMU lead to 4-0.
The Rattlers added three runs in the top of the third inning on home runs by Ben Ellzey and Garrett Wilkinson to extend the lead to seven. Ellzey led off with a towering home run to straight away left. After McCarty singled up the middle, Wilkinson hit a no-doubt two-run shot off the building in right center.
Florida A&M scored three more runs in the fourth on the first of McCarty’s two home runs. With one out Brian Davis singled to left, then Ellzey was hit by a pitch, before McCarty belted his sixth home run of the year to right center giving the Rattlers a 10-0 advantage.
North Carolina Central got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth on a leadoff home run to left by Cuevas, and back-to-back doubles by Valichka and Williams to make the score 10-2.
The Rattlers answered back, sending 10 hitters to the plate in the top of the fifth inning, scoring four runs on three hits. Octavien Moyer led off with a walk and stole second. After Russell Rauh worked a walk, Willis McDaniel scored Moyer from second with an RBI fielder’s choice on a ball that was misplayed by the NCCU center fielder. Florida A&M loaded the bases for McCarty after Brian Davis walked and Ellzey singled. McCarty promptly cleared the bases with a his second double of the day, making the score 14-2.
The Eagles scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth on RBI doubles by Fischvogt and Michalski for a score of 14-4.
McCarty led off the seventh inning with his team-leading seventh home run – his second of the day. The Rattlers then loaded the bases on a single by Oliver and walks by Russ and Reese. With one out, Rauh drove in Oliver with a fielder’s choice and McDaniel added an RBI single to center, making the score 17-4.
NCCU scored a single run in the bottom of the seventh for a final score of 17-5.
North Carolina Central starting pitcher Jonathan Figueroa (1-3) suffered the loss for the Eagles after allowing seven runs (four earned) on six hits in three innings.
Florida A&M will travel to Montgomery, Alabama for a rematch with the Alabama State Hornets on Wednesday, April 5th at 5:00 PM at Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex.
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