Game 1: Savannah, Ga. (March 17th, 2018) – Winning three of their last four games, the Florida A&M Rattlers looked to stay hot going into their second weekend of MEAC play, visiting the Tigers of Savannah State University for a three game set.
Savannah State took an early lead in the first game of the Saturday double header, scoring three runs in the first inning. Mason Calloway led off the inning with a single to left field, and would then advance to third on a single by Kyle Gerdts and score on a throwing error by the left fielder. Freddie Landers then drove in Gerdts with a ground ball to first base. Khalyd Cox later singled to drive in Bryce Luken, who reached on a double to left.
FAMU answered with 5 runs in the top of the second inning. The Rattlers put two runners on early, with Brian Davis getting hit by a pitch and Jacky Miles hitting a single to right field. John Capra then moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt, and also reached on a fielding error by the second baseman. With the bases loaded, Bret Maxwell successfully drove in a run with another sacrifice bunt. Ty Russ reached base on another Savannah State error, scoring John Capra. Jordan Curtis kept the inning going with a double over the head of the right fielder, driving in Russ. Curtis would later score on a passed ball, giving the Rattlers a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the second inning.
The Rattlers extended their lead to 8-3 in the top of the fourth inning. Ty Russ reached base on another error, this time to left field, scoring Bret Maxwell who walked to lead off the inning. Jordan Curtis followed up with his second hit of the day, this one a single to left field. Russ then scored from third on a wild pitch, and Curtis scored on a ground ball to third base by Dallas Oliver before the Tigers ended the inning.
The Tigers gained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freddie Landers doubled to right field to drive in Mason Calloway, who reached on an infield single. Bryce Luken followed up with a single to left center, driving in Kyle Gerdts, who also reached on a single. Landers then scored on a bunt single by Jalen Atterbury. The Tigers scored their seventh run of the game on a bases loaded walk before they took the lead thanks to a Marcus Mitchell grand slam to make it an 11-8 game.
Savannah State was not done there, adding three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Marcus Mitchell hit a ground ball to first base and reached on an error, allowing Jalen Atterbury and Bryce Luken to score. With runners on first and third, Noah Orlando drove in Larry Silmon on a bunt single, giving the Tigers a 14-8 lead after six innings of play.
FAMU shortened the deficit in the top of the seventh. Jacky Miles led off the inning with a single to left center, and later scored on a Ty Russ single to left field to make it a 14-9 game in favor of Savannah State.
The Rattlers continued to dip into the lead in the eighth inning. John Capra drove in Kaycee Reese with a base hit to right field. Bret Maxwell then drove in Capra and Jacky Miles with a double to left center, making it a 14-12 game going into the bottom of the eighth.
The Tigers extended the lead to 16-12 in the bottom of the eighth with two runs of their own. Larry Silmon scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a walk. Freddie Landers later singled to right to drive in Turner Davis, who reached on an error.
Ty Russ led off the top of the ninth inning with a walk, as Florida A&M would not go down easily. Kaycee Reese followed with a single, and Dallas Oliver also singled to load the bases with one out. Brian Davis came through with a base hit to right field, driving in Russ. Jacky Miles then kept the rally going with a single up the middle, scoring Reese and Oliver to put the Rattlers within a run. Unfortunately, the rally came up short, and Savannah State held on to win by a final score of 16-15.
Trevor McKenna got the win for Savannah State, allowing nine runs (four earned) through 6.2 innings. Ian Concevitch threw 1.1 innings, allowing three earned runs, and Paul Sheffield threw 1 inning of relief, also giving up three earned runs.
Thomas Nicoll got the loss for the Rattlers after starting and throwing 4 innings. Jamie Grant, Josh Barr, and Jeremiah McCollum each threw an inning of relief, and Deven Shulstad and William Walter combined to pitch the ninth.
Game 2: Savannah, Ga. (March 17th, 2018) – The Rattlers came into game two looking to split the double header after falling short by one run in the first game of the series.
FAMU got off to a hot start in this one. John Capra led off the game with a single, followed by another single by Kaycee Reese. Both runners would score on a double to left center by Dallas Oliver. Brian Davis then made it a four-run game with a two-run shot to right field, his second homerun of the season. The Rattlers weren’t done there, as Jacky Miles walked and would later score on an infield single by Malachi Mitchell. John Capra tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly, scoring Ty Russ, who reached on a single. Dallas Oliver was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in the seventh run of the inning to make it a 7-0 game going into the bottom of the first.
Savannah State answered with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Jalen Atterbury walked to lead off the inning, and would later score on a ground ball to second base by Marcus Mitchell. With runners on the corners, Khalyd Cox scored from third on an error by the first baseman on a pickoff to first, making it a 7-2 game.
The Rattlers quickly answered with four more runs in the top of the third. Dallas Oliver came up with the bases loaded on walks, and cleared the bases with a double to the left field gap. He later scored on a groundout by Bret Maxwell, giving FAMU an 11-2 lead.
Kyle Gerdts led off the Savannah State half of the third with a walk, and would then score on a double to right center by Bryce Luken to make it an 11-3 game in favor of FAMU.
FAMU would extend their lead again in the top of the fifth. Dallas Oliver reached on a walk and then scored all the way from first on a single to left center by Brian Davis. Oliver delivered again in the sixth, driving in Ty Russ on a single through the right side to make the Rattlers’ lead 13-3 going into the bottom of the sixth.
The Tigers cut into the FAMU lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Daryl Harper scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on a walk. Jalen Atterbury later singled to drive in Kyle Gerdts, who also walked, making it a 13-5 game.
Florida A&M took game two by a final score of 13-5. Pedro de los Rios earned his first win of the season, allowing two earned runs through 3 innings while striking out five. Starter Chandellor Benton allowed two earned runs through 2.2 innings, and Jamie Grant threw the final 1.1 innings of the game, giving up no runs.
Alex Wright took the loss for Savannah State, throwing only 0.1 innings. Shaun Sausville entered the game in the first inning and threw 1.2 innings, giving up two earned runs. Charles Wilson tossed 3 frames before Gillis Spencer and David Sharp each threw 1 inning of relief.
The Rattlers look to win their second MEAC series tomorrow, Sunday, March 18th, at Tiger Field in Savannah, Ga.