Game 1: Tallahassee, Fl. (March 10th, 2018) – Florida A&M opened up Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play on alumni weekend, hosting the Wildcats of rival Bethune-Cookman University for a three-game set.
Both teams were held scoreless for the first six innings of the game, but Bethune-Cookman got on the board in the top of the seventh. Chase Debonis led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second base on an error. He then advanced to third base on a hit by pitch, and also scored on a bases loaded hit by pitch before the Rattlers ended the inning.
Florida A&M answered in the bottom of the seventh, thanks in part to a lead off bunt single by Willis McDaniel. McDaniel also advanced to second base on a throwing error by the third baseman on the play. John Capra then came through with a big double to left center field to drive in McDaniel. Octavien Moyer kept the inning going with a walk, followed by a bunt single by Bret Maxwell to load the bases. John Capra scored on a wild pitch before Dallas Oliver singled up the middle to drive in Moyer and Maxwell to give the Rattlers a 4-1 lead after seven innings of play.
Florida A&M held onto this lead to get the win. Deven Shulstad was credited with the win, going 1.1 innings, giving up no earned runs on one hit. Starter Thomas Nicoll threw 4.2 innings, allowing no runs while striking out three. Jamie Grant threw 2 innings of relief, and Dylan Carlson got the save, throwing a scoreless ninth inning.
Tyler Norris was handed the loss for Bethune-Cookman, going 6 innings and giving up two earned runs. Ivan Coutinho allowed two earned runs in 0.2 innings, while Branden Frank threw 1.1 innings of relief.
Game 2: Tallahassee, Fl. (March 10th, 2018) – The Rattlers got off to a great start in conference play with a win in game one, and came into game two looking for a sweep of their double header.
Florida A&M jumped ahead early with a six-run second inning. John Capra reached base on a single up the middle. A hit by pitch and a walk loaded the bases for Bret Maxwell, who singled to score Capra. A bases loaded triple by Jordan Curtis drove in Octavien Moyer, Cameron Johnson and Maxwell. Dallas Oliver then singled to score Curtis, giving the Rattlers a 6-0 lead after two innings of play.
Bethune-Cookman got on the board with one run in the top of the fourth inning. Zach Spivey reached base on a walk and advanced to second base on a single by Nate Sterijevski. Brady Van Hook drove in Spivey with a base hit to shorten the Rattlers’ lead to 6-1.
FAMU increased the lead back to six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Octavien Moyer doubled to left field before and advanced to third base on a wild pitch before scoring on a base hit to center by Cameron Johnson.
The Rattlers would go on to win the game by a final score of 7-1, with Chandellor Benton earning the win. Benton threw 5 innings, striking out five while allowing only one earned runs. Ryan Anderson threw the final 2 innings of the game, allowing no runs and one hit.
Brandon Wilkes got the loss for Bethune-Cookman, allowing six earned runs through 1.2 innings of work. Brady Norris tossed 3.1 innings of relief, giving up one earned run, and Bobby Stewart threw a scoreless sixth for the Wildcats.
The Rattlers will go for the series sweep of Bethune-Cookman on Sunday, March 11th, back at Moore-Kittles Field.