TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 22) – FAMU and Jackson State squared off in a baseball doubleheader at Moore-Kittles Field Saturday, an extraordinary twinbill as it turned out with both games going into extra innings. FAMU won the opener in 13 innings, 7-6, before JSU rallied to win the nightcap, 8-6 in 11 innings.
@ The Rattlers (3-4) won the opener, in the bottom of the 13th, when Jared Walker scored from third on a throwing error by Tiger second baseman Stephen Curtis, when he attempted to get a force out at second on a grounder by Bennie Robinson.
The speedy Walker led off with a bunt single down the first base line, beating the pitcher and first baseman to the bag. He then stole second, followed by a single from Marlon Gibbs, which sent Walker to third.
Robinson followed with a hard hit grounder to second, which Curtis fielded and threw to second attempting to force Gibbs, but his throw was wide of the bag, allowing Walker to score.
FAMU outhit Jackson State, 16-11 in the opener led by Gibbs and Kendal Weeks with three hits each, with two hits apiece coming from Walker, Blake Quillan, Michael Birdsong and Ryan Kennedy. Quillan and Walker each drove in two runs.
Jackson was paced by Bryce Taylor with three hits, followed by Tilur Smith, Melvin Rodriguez and Fred Hampton with two hits apiece.
The Tigers led 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, when FAMU struck for five runs on six hits to take a 6-2 lead. But JSU answered with three runs in the seventh to trim the FAMU lead to 6-5, then pushed a run across in the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
Cameron Sims (1-0) got the win in relief for FAMU, striking out two of the three batters he faced in a scoreless 13th inning, while closer Desmond Russell (1-1) took the loss for the Tigers, scattering four hits, striking out two and walking one in three innings of relief.
@ The Tigers (5-2) got their revenge in the nightcap, as they scored two runs in the top of the 11th on two hits to break a 6-6 tie.
JSU’s Nick Marigny, who reached on a leadoff single, advanced to second on Desmond Russell’s bunt single, later scoring the lead run from third on a Jeremy Barlow throwing error, as the FAMU catcher tried to throw Marigny out attempting to steal third, and the ball went into left field. Russell later added another run, scoring from third on Tilur Smith’s sacrifice fly to center for the 8-6 final.
FAMU led 3-1 after four innings, and 4-3 after six innings, but the visitors would not go away, regaining the lead, 5-4 with a two-run seventh, before adding a run in the eighth for a 6-4 edge.
Desmond Russell led the Tigers with five hits and three runs scored, while Bryce Taylor drove in three runs on two hits for Jackson State.
Russell (1-1) got the win in relief for the Tigers, striking out five and allowing one run on two hits in three and two-thirds innings of work. Javon Johnakin (0-1) took the loss in relief for FAMU, working the final two innings of the game, striking out three and allowing two hits, but yielding the two critical runs in the 11th.
WHAT’S NEXT: The two teams are slated to play a nine-inning game Sunday to conclude the series, but the weather forecast calls for inclement weather beginning in the morning and lasting through Monday afternoon.