TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Comeback wins have become a thing to expect with the 2017 Florida A&M Baseball team. Trailing 8-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning in a seven-inning game, Florida A&M (19-16, 9-6 MEAC) battled back to score nine runs on their way to a 10-9 victory to take the series over Bethune-Cookman (22-17, 9-6 MEAC).
The Rattlers scored four runs on five hits in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to 8-5. Moyer got things started with a one out single to right. Brian Davis was then hit by a pitch for the second time, and Ben Ellzey singled to load the bases. Aubrey McCarty then crushed his ninth double of the season off the top of the fence in right center to score Moyer and Davis. With two outs in the inning, Garrett Wilkinson lined a single to center field scoring Ellzey and McCarty.
After Jamie Grant worked a scoreless frame in the top of the sixth, Florida A&M erupted for five more runs on four hits to take a 10-8 lead. Once again, Moyer started the rally with a single. Davis followed with a walk and Ellzey singled through the left side to load the bases. McCarty worked a full count walk to bring in Moyer from third, then Willis McDaniel lined a sharp single to center, scoring Davis. With the bases loaded and one out, Wilkinson gave the Rattlers the lead with a huge bases clearing double to right center, making the score 10-8.
Hunter Fillingim came in to pitch the seventh and allowed one run on two hits, but struck out two, including the last batter of the game to pick up his team leading fourth save of the season.
FAMU starting pitcher JoJo Durden labored through 3.2 innings as the Rattler defense made five errors, leading to seven unearned runs for Bethune-Cookman.
Jamie Grant (5-1) kept the Rattlers in the game, limiting Bethune to one run through 2.1 innings to pick up his team leading fifth win of the season.
Ivan Coutinho (2-2) was tabbed with the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in 0.2 innings pitched.
In Game One, the Florida A&M pitching staff struggled as they allowed 12 hits and 11 free passes in an 8-1 loss.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the top of the first inning. Jordan Stacey battled back from an 0-2 count to walk with the bases loaded, scoring Adonis Lao from third. Chase DeBonis then added a sacrifice fly to give the Wildcats a 2-0 advantage.
The Rattlers scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the first thanks to a leadoff double by Octavien Moyer. Brian Davis advanced Moyer to third with a groundout to the right side, then Ben Ellzey drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left, making the score 2-1.
Florida A&M starter Aubrey McCarty struggled in the third inning, allowing four runs on three hits to give the Wildcats a 6-1 lead. Bethune scored all four runs with two outs. Josten Heron was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Danny Rodriguez for the first run. Kyle Corbin then drove in two runs with his second hit of the day and Demetrius Sims capped the scoring with a ground rule double to left.
Nate Sterijevski added to the Wildcats lead with a leadoff home run off reliever Dylan Carlson in the top of the fifth inning, making the score 7-1.
Bethune picked up an unearned run on an RBI single by Lao in the top of the ninth for a final score of 8-1.
McCarty (4-3) suffered the loss in Game One after allowing six runs on six hits through 3.0 innings.
Tyler Krull (4-1) was outstanding for the Wildcats, scattering six hits and allowing only one run through 7.1 innings to pick up the win.
Octavien Moyer and Dallas Oliver were standouts for Florida A&M offensively on Saturday. Moyer finished the day 4-for-7 with two doubles and three runs scored while Oliver was 5-for-7 with a double and an RBI. Garrett Wilkinson played a key role in the comeback win in Game Two as he was 2-for-4 with a double and five RBI.
With the series win, FAMU is now in second place in the MEAC Southern Division, trailing only North Carolina A&T.
Florida A&M will return to action on Wednesday, April 19 at 5:00 PM at Jacksonville before traveling to Savannah State next weekend.
As always, fans can follow Rattler Baseball on Twitter @BaseballFAMU and on Facebook.