By Michael Morrell/Special to FAMU Athletics
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M (15-20, 10-7 MEAC) scored eight of nine runs with two outs en route to a 9-8 weekend series clinching victory over Savannah State (13-24, 4-11 MEAC) Sunday afternoon at Moore-Kittles Field. Ryan Kennedy’s three-run home run in the sixth gave the Rattlers the lead for good while William Carrasco earned his first save of the season.
The win marks the fifth win of the season for FAMU over the defending MEAC Champions.
Marlon Gibbs and Logan Seymour both went 3-for-4 on the day with two runs scored to help pace the Rattler offense. Brandon Fleming (2-3) earned the win while pitching 4.1 innings of middle relief. Fleming gave up two runs on four hits while striking out two Tiger batters. Carrasco worked the final scoreless inning and a third for the save.
Things got a little exciting in the top of the ninth as the Tigers tried to tie the game. Following a two-out single by Zachary Brigham, Brian Miller came in as a pinch runner for Savannah State representing the tying run at first base. Lee Moore roped a single deep into left field and Miller was going to attempt to score from first. Miller had rounded third base to head home but changed his mind and was thrown out at third as he tried to get back to the base to end the game.
Savannah State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Todd Hagen and Hector Benitez recorded back-to-back hits to start the inning and David Richards drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Charles Sikes then grounded into a double play that scored Hagen from third. Benitez later came home on a wild pitch from Montague for the second Tiger run of the inning.
The Tigers added an unearned run, to make the score 3-0, in the third inning on a misplayed ball by Devin Perry at third base that would have ended the inning for the Rattlers.
FAMU took the lead 4-3 as the bats came alive with four hits in the home half of the third inning. Seymour singled to left and Gibbs bunt single put runners on first and second with one out. Both runners advanced a base after a balk from Savannah State starter Zach McCormack and Ryan Kennedy drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases. Michael Birdsong’s hard hit single to left brought home Seymour and Gibbs , but the ball got past Tiger left fielder Parker Nix allowing Kennedy to score all the way from first. Perry’s RBI single plated Birdsong for the go-ahead run.
Savannah State answered back with three runs in the fourth to regain the lead by a score of 6-4. Nix had the only hit of the inning for the Tigers, an RBI single, that tied the game at 4-4. SSU scored two more unearned runs, courtesy of a pair of Rattler errors, to take the lead.
The Rattlers wouldn’t be denied, scoring four runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, for an 8-6 advantage. The sixth inning was highlighted by Kennedy’s three-run home run, his sixth of the season. FAMU had four hits in the inning as Birdsong, Jeremy Barlow and Taylor Strauss each had singles for the Rattler offense.
Florida A&M added what proved to be an important insurance run in the seventh as Bennie Robinson grounded into a double play, but still scored Seymour for the score of 9-6.
SSU got within one, at 9-8, as they added two more runs in the eighth. Devin McHugh’s RBI groundout plated Lee Moore and Hagen’s RBI single back up the middle scored Nix.
Savannah State starter Zach McCormack (2-2) took the loss after giving up eight runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings of work. McCormack struck out two with four walks.
Florida A&M continues its six games in six day stretch as it travels to face Central Florida (22-15, 10-2 AAC) on Tuesday, April 15. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm at Jay Bergman Field.