One big inning cost the Rattlers the game on Wednesday afternoon. Florida A&M (14-7, 5-1 MEAC) allowed seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, which proved to be the difference as they dropped the second game of the midweek series to Mercer (19-4) by a score of 11-5.
Leading 5-3 entering the bottom of the fourth, the Rattlers looked to be in good shape to take the season series from the Bears. Instead, the Mercer scored seven runs on five hits to take a commanding 10-5 lead.
Hanson started the scoring with an RBI single, then JT Thomas hit a two-RBI double to give Mercer the lead. Charlie Madden contributed with an RBI double down the third base line, and Jackson Ware capped the scoring with a three-run home run to right center field after Danny Edgeworth was intentionally walked.
It was the most runs FAMU has allowed in a single inning this season.
Unlike Tuesday night, Florida A&M got off to a hot start, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning on Aubrey McCarty’s fifth homerun of the season.
John Capra led off the game with a walk, then Ben Ellzey singled to center field with one out to place runners on first and second for McCarty, who crushed one over the batter’s eye in center field to give the Rattlers an early advantage.
Mercer scored an unearned run in the bottom frame on a couple of walks and a Rattler throwing error.
Once again the Florida A&M starting pitcher struggled with command early. Rodney Randers, Jr. walked the first two batters he faced to open the game. With one out, the Bears executed a double steal and the FAMU catcher made an errant throw to third base, allowing Alex Hanson to come around to score.
FAMU added two more runs in the top of the second inning on a 2-RBI single by Willis McDaniel pushing the lead to 5-1.
After singles by Kaycee Reese and Brian Davis, McCarty was intentionally walked with runners on second and third and two outs to load the bases for McDaniel, who drove in two runs with a single through the left side of the infield.
The Bears answered with another unearned run in the bottom of the second inning.
After an error by the FAMU infield, a hit-by-pitch, and a fielder’s choice on a bunt play, the Bears had the bases loaded with no outs. With a 3-1 count on the batter, Jamie Grant came in to relieve Randers, Jr. and got a big double play and a strikeout to limit Mercer to one run in the inning.
Mercer scored a single run for the third consecutive inning in the bottom of the third on a two-out RBI double off the wall in left field by Danny Edgeworth.
The Bears took control of the game with their surge in the fourth, and held the Rattlers scoreless over the final seven innings.
Mercer scored one run on two hits in the bottom of the eighth for a final score of 11-5.
Ellzey, McCarty and McDaniel had good games at the plate in the heart of the Florida A&M lineup. Ellzey went 3-for-5 with a run scored, raising his average to .378 on the season, while McDaniel finished 2-for-4 with two RBI. After McCarty’s three-run homerun in the first, Mercer pitched around him the rest of the afternoon, intentionally walking him twice.
Jamie Grant (4-1) suffered the loss after allowing a career high eight runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings.
Robert Broom (3-1) picked up his third win of the season for the Bears after throwing three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit with three strikeouts.
The Florida A&M pitching staff struggled with free passes throughout both games, allowing 21 walks and hit-by-pitches combined.