Tigers take 7-2 win in opener; rally for 4-3 win in nightcap
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 9) - The Florida A&M University Baseball team dropped a pair of hard-fought games to visiting Savannah State University, 7-2 and 4-3 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play Saturday afternoon at Moore-Kittles Field.
In Saturday's opener, both starting pitchers got touched up early as Savannah State built a 5-2 lead after the first inning.
FAMU starter David Duncan (0-3) gave up five runs on four hits in the opening frame, but managed to settle down after that, retiring 12 men in order before giving up another run on one hit in the sixth. He finished the day after seven innings, allowing six runs on eight hits, with five strikeouts and a pair of walks, before Brandon Fleming came on in the eighth to pitch the final two innings, allowing one run on one hit.
Savannah State's Kyle McGowin (4-0), gave up two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first for his only trouble of the day, as he went on to work eight and two-thirds innings, scattering six FAMU hits and struck out 14 Rattler batters.
Centerfielder Jared Walker led FAMU with two of his team's six hits. Walker and first baseman Bennie Robinson each scored in that first inning rally, with Robinson reaching on a single to left behind Walker, who scored FAMU's first run from third on a wild pitch. Robinson later tallied on an RBI single by Michael Birdsong.
Joseph McCrary and Parker Nix each had two hits to lead SSU, with McCray driving in a pair of runs on the day, while Nix scored twice.
McCray's two-run double and a run-scoring single by David Richards keyed the Tigers' five-run outbreak to start the game. They added single runs in the sixth and ninth to close out the scoring in the opener.
Game two featured FAMU (0-15, 0-5 in MEAC) taking the early lead, 2-0, on Hunter Barfield's two-run single, which drove in Sylvester Peck and Bennie Robinson, in the bottom of the first inning.
FAMU held that edge until the fifth when Savannah State (11-3, 2-0 in MEAC) took the lead, 4-2, on two hits and aided by three FAMU errors. Drew Quinney and Kevin Herlihy both singled in tallies for the Tigers.
The Rattlers did mount a last-ditch rally in the seventh, scoring their final run on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Evan Dupree, which pushed home Jared Walker. Michael Birdsong's grounder to first ended the rally though, with two Rattlers on base.
Walker led the Rattlers with three hits in the second game, while, FAMU pitchers Heath Blackburn (0-4) and Stephen Dollar combined to limit Savannah State to four total hits in the nightcap.
Reliever Tommy Freeman (1-0) picked up the win for SSU, with closer Eric Ricks coming on in the seventh to pick up his first save of the season.
WHAT'S NEXT: FAMU will host Savannah State in the final game of the three-game weekend series at Moore-Kittles Field Sunday at 1:00 p.m.