The Alabama State Hornets (11-15, 7-2 SWAC) edged the Florida A&M Rattlers (15-10, 5-1 MEAC) by a score of 6-5 on Wednesday night at Moore-Kittles Field. Dylan Carlson gave the Rattlers five solid innings in his first career start, and John Capra hit his first career home run to lead Florida A&M in a tough loss.
With the score tied at 5-5 in the top of the seventh inning, the Hornets recorded back to back doubles off Florida A&M reliever Thomas Nicoll to score the game’s winning run.
Diandre Amion led off with a double to left center, just over the outstretched glove of left fielder Aubrey McCarty. Carlos Ocasio then doubled past a diving Ben Ellzey at third base to give Alabama State the lead, for a final score of 6-5.
The Rattlers had the leadoff batter reach base in both the bottom of the eighth and the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to advance the runner past first base and tie the game.
The Hornets scratched across an unearned run in the top of the first inning to take the game’s first lead. Leadoff man Diandre Amion reached on a passed ball after striking out and came around to score on a bases loaded ground ball double play.
Dylan Carlson didn’t help himself much in the first, walking three Alabama State hitters in the frame, but the Freshman right-hander settled in, putting together his best career outing in his first collegiate start. Carlson, a Tallahassee native, held the Hornets scoreless over the next four innings, allowing only one hit.
John Capra evened the score on the first offering of the game from Alabama State starting pitcher Jon Roblez, hammering his first career home run to straight away left.
The Rattlers took the lead 2-1 in the bottom of the second on an RBI single off the bat of Dallas Oliver. With one out, Cameron Johnson was hit by a pitch and then moved to second on a single up the middle by Kaycee Reese. Oliver then drove in Johnson from second with two outs to put Florida A&M out in front.
Carlson breezed through the next three frames, facing the minimum nine batters, before Jamie Grant took over the pitching duties in the top of the sixth.
After only collecting two hits through the first five innings, the Alabama State offense came alive in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs on five hits to take a 5-2 lead.
FAMU tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, scoring three runs on three hits and one error.
Austin Michaud got things started with a flare double down the right field line. After a Kaycee Reese single up the middle, Russell Rauh drove in Michaud from third with a single through the right side. With runners on first and second and no outs, Dallas Oliver laid down a sacrifice bunt. Oliver was out on the play at first, but the ASU defender tried to catch Reese leaning off third base, and threw the ball away down the left field line to allow both Reese and Rauh to score, tying the game at 5-5.
Amion’s and Ocasio’s back-to-back doubles off Nicoll in the seventh gave the Hornets the lead for good.
Carlson finished with five innings pitched, two hits, no earned runs and a career high six strikeouts.
Nicoll (2-2) suffered his second loss of the season after working three innings of relief, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts.
Austin Bizzle (1-0) picked up the win for ASU after pitching three scoreless innings of relief, while Chase Laney earned his first save of the year after closing things out in the ninth.
The Rattlers recorded 13 hits in the loss – their 13th double digit hitting performance on the season. FAMU is now 9-4 in games where they record double digit hits.
Florida A&M was led offensively by John Capra, Kaycee Reese, and Dallas Oliver who each had multiple hits on the evening. Capra finished 2-for-4 with a home run, while Reese was 3-for-4 with a run scored and Oliver was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Florida A&M will return to MEAC play this weekend as they travel to Durham, North Carolina for a three-game series with the North Carolina Central Eagles. The two teams will play a double header on Saturday, April 1 beginning at 1:00 PM, and will wrap up the series on Sunday, April 2 at 1:00 PM at Durham Athletic Park.