TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 12) – Robert Robinson’s 10th inning, two-out, bases loaded RBI single vaulted the Florida A&M Baseball team past archrival Bethune-Cookman, 6-5 in the opening game of a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Southern Division weekend series at Moore-Kittle Field Friday evening.
Friday’s win was the third straight for FAMU (14-22, 6-7 MEAC), lifting them into a third place tie with Bethune-Cookman (14-22, 6-7 MEAC) in the Southern Division behind North Carolina A&T (8-4) and North Carolina Central (6-6), who had their Friday game rained out.
FAMU took an early 2-0 lead in in the first inning, when Tucker Rayburn belted a two-out, two-run home run to right, his fourth of the year, scoring Octavien Moyer, who reached on a walk.
The Wildcats tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the third on a RBI double by Josten Heror and an RBI single by Brady Van Hook.
FAMU got the runs back in the bottom of the frame however, on an RBI ground out by Rayburn, followed by an RBI single from Jared Weber, putting the Rattlers ahead, 4-2.
The Wildcats closed to 4-3 in the top of the fourth on Chase DeBonis’ solo homer to left, then barged ahead, 5-4 with a two-run seventh, keyed by an RBI double by Nate Sterijevski, and a run-scoring single by Over Torres.
FAMU forced extra innings when they tied the score at 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth on Malachi Mitchell’s sacrifice fly to right, which sent home Seyjuan Lawrence from third.
After reliever Morgan Mendez (4-2) set down the Wildcats in order in the top of the 10th, FAMU pulled out the win, when Tucker Rayburn, who reached on a leadoff single, scored the decisive run on Robert Robinson’s single up the middle, which set off a huge celebration.
Rayburn led FAMU with two hits, two runs and three RBIs, followed by Weber with two hits and an RBI.
Mendez, who came on in the seventh to spell FAMU starter Kyle Coleman, who allowed five runs on nine hits in six and two-third innings, twirled three and a third innings of one hit, scoreless relief, with five strikeouts.
For Bethune-Cookman had four players with two hits, including Brady Van Hook, Nate Sterijevski, Over Torres and Chase DeBonis, with all driving in a run.
WHAT’S ON DECK: Because of the forecast for severe weather Sunday here in Tallahassee, FAMU and Bethune-Cookman will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m.