The Rattlers (2-2) stumbled in a hard-fought game, losing to Auburn (4-1) on Wednesday night by a score of 12-8. Florida A&M swung the bats well once again, finishing with 13 hits, but the offense couldn’t overcome a few defensive mishaps and walks surrendered by the Rattler’s bullpen.
Willis McDaniel led the way at the plate, finishing the day 3-for-4 with a walk, two RBI, a run scored and his first homerun of the season. Brian Davis also had a good day, collecting two hits, including his first homerun of the 2017 campaign, to go along with three RBI. Aubrey McCarty had his fourth consecutive multi-hit game to start the season with two more hits today, while senior Ben Ellzey extended his hitting streak to 25 games with two hits on the night.
Brian Davis got things started early with a deep homerun to right field off Auburn starter Gabe Klobosits, the Rattlers first home run of the 2017 season. Ellzey followed with a sharply hit single up the middle. Junior Aubrey McCarty continued to swing a hot bat, following with a single to left field to put runners on first and second. Willis McDaniel brought in the second run of the inning on a deep double off the right-center field wall, scoring Ellzey from second base. Cameron Johnson drove in the final run of the frame on a groundout to second base, bringing McCarty home from third, for a score of 3-0.
Ryan Anderson started the game, on what was his scheduled bullpen day, and retired the Auburn Tigers in order on four pitches in the first inning. Anderson was finished for the day after throwing two perfect innings.
Florida A&M extended their lead in the top of the second inning, scoring three runs on four hits. Russell Rauh led things off with a walk off new Tiger pitcher, Elliot Anderson. Kaycee Reese then stroked a double to left-center field to place runners on second and third with no outs. After a walk by John Capra, Brian Davis added his second hit of the day with a single to right field that drove in two runs. Auburn then made another pitching change, this time bringing in Daniel Sprinkle to face Ellzey who singled off the shortstop’s glove to bring in the third and final run of the inning. Sprinkle set down the next three Rattler hitters to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth inning Auburn loaded the bases with one out, but Danny Rodriguez induced a ground ball to second base for an inning-ending double play to escape without surrendering a run, allowing FAMU to keep a 6-0 lead.
FAMU added one run in the top of the fifth inning on Willis McDaniel’s first homerun of the season, pushing the lead to 7-0.
The Auburn Tigers battled back, scoring six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on six hits and one Rattler error. After a leadoff double and a single through the right side, Blake Logan delivered a sacrifice fly to center field for Auburn’s first run of the game. Auburn leadoff hitter, Luke Jarvis then doubled to left field, and Jay Estes brought home the second run on another sacrifice fly to center field. Auburn went on to score four more runs with two outs, making the score 7-6 at the end of five innings.
The Rattlers scored their final run of the game in the top of the sixth inning. McCarty led off with a single down the left field line and McDaniel followed with a walk. Two consecutive passed balls allowed McCarty to score from third.
Auburn answered once again in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring two runs on a deep two run home run to right center field by Daniel Robert.
The Tigers put the game out of reach by scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth on two hits, two walks and an error.
Auburn reliever Cole Lipscomb (1-0) earned the win by working 1.1 innings of relief without allowing a hit. Thomas Nicoll (0-1) suffered the loss after giving up three runs (two earned) and two walks in only 0.1 innings pitched.
Florida A&M will look to bounce back when they host George Washington (2-3) this Friday at 4pm at Moore-Kittles Field.