TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – FAMU (2-1) used a 4 run 5th inning to defeat Wofford (1-2) by a score of 8-7 on Sunday afternoon at Moore-Kittles Field. Aubrey McCarty (1-0) led the way for the Rattlers with the bat and on the mound. McCarty was 2-3 with 2 runs scored, an RBI, and a walk. McCarty was also the winning pitcher in his first appearance on the mound for Florida A&M, throwing 5 complete innings, surrendering only 3 hits and 2 runs.
Juniors Brian Davis and Dallas Oliver also had good performances in the batter’s box. Davis recorded 3 hits on the afternoon, including his first double of the season. Oliver delivered a key hit in the 5th inning that broke the game open, when he lined a bases clearing double to left field, scoring 3 runs.
For the first time in 2017, the Rattlers scored first, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Willis McDaniel led off with a single to left field, and Dallas Oliver followed with a walk, placing runners on first and second. Ty Russ then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, advancing the runners to second and third. Russell Rauh brought in the game’s first run, in his first collegiate at bat for Florida A&M, on a groundout to third base.
Wofford answered with 2 runs of their own in the top of the third inning. Malsch led off with a single to right field, and was followed by a walk to place runners on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third, Terrier 3-hole hitter Brett Hash struck out swinging, but reached first on a wild pitch, which also allowed Malsch to score from third. With runners now on the corners, Waln laid down a safety squeeze bunt, and McCarty was unable to get the runner out at home, which gave Wofford their only lead of the game.
The Rattlers added 4 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to take a 5-2 lead. Kaycee Reese led off with a single off the pitcher’s glove. After a Capra fly out to right field, Davis and Ellzey recorded back to back singles, loading the bases for McCarty who promptly singled up the middle, tying the game. With 2 outs Dallas Oliver provided a big spark with a bases clearing double, giving him 3 RBI on the afternoon.
Florida A&M added a single run in the 6th inning courtesy of a sacrifice fly off the bat of Brian Davis. Russell Rauh and Kaycee Reese got things started with back to back walks. Capra then advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Davis hit a fly ball to center field, allowing Rauh to tag up and score from third.
The Rattlers extended their lead once again in the 7th inning, this time tacking on 2 runs. McCarty led off with a single through the right side. With one out, Garrett Wilkinson entered the game and smacked a single to right field. Ty Russ then drove the ball up the middle and McCarty came around to score from second. Russell Rauh recorded his first collegiate hit on a line drive to center field which brought Wilkinson home, pushing the Rattler lead to 8-2.
Wofford made things interesting in the top of the 9th, scoring 5 runs on 4 hits and 2 Rattler errors, but their comeback fell just short as junior Hunter Fillingim forced a fly out to right field to end the game with a final score of 8-7.
Junior transfer, Thomas Nicoll was outstanding in relief for the Rattlers. In his first appearance for FAMU, Nicoll pitched 3 scoreless innings without surrendering a hit or a walk.
Wofford starter Austin Higginbotham (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks in 4.2 innings of work.
Florida A&M will travel to Auburn on Wednesday, February 22 for their next game where Ben Ellzey will look to continue his 24-game hitting streak dating back to the 2016 season.