TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Strong starting pitching from Ryan Anderson and Aubrey McCarty led Florida A&M (23-18) to a doubleheader sweep over Jackson State (31-14-1) on Saturday afternoon at Moore-Kittles Field. Anderson (3-2) allowed just two runs and scattered six hits across 7.2 innings to pick up the win in Game 1, while McCarty (5-3) added a 7.0 inning, complete game effort, allowing just one earned run on five hits to pick up the win in Game 2.
Anderson and Jackson State's Game 1 starter, Jordan Bolden, went toe-to-toe for the first four innings. Both starters surrender just two hits through four scoreless frames to open the game, while Anderson retired 10 consecutive batters from the second inning to the top of the fifth on his way to winning his third straight decision.
Jackson State finally got to Anderson in the top of the fifth for the first runs of the day. After a one-out walk, Stephan Vidal gave Jackson State a 2-0 lead with a home run to left-center field, his second of the year.
Florida A&M answered with five runs on three hits and three errors in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Ben Ellzey got the Rattlers going with a double off the fence in left. Brian Davis reached on an error by the shortstop, and with one out, Garrett Wilkinson drove in Ellzey with a fielder's choice. Willis McDaniel added a single to left and Kaycee Reese worked a walk to load the bases for Russell Rauh who singled through the left side of the infield, scoring two and giving the Rattlers the lead. Octavien Moyer then hit a high pop up to shallow left field that was misplayed, allowing two more runs to score, giving FAMU a 5-2 advantage.
After a single by Reese, Rauh added to the Rattlers lead in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run home run to left field.
The Freshman's second home run of the year gave Florida A&M some much needed insurance runs, as Jackson State rallied off Thomas Nicoll in the top of the ninth. Cornellius Copeland drove in two runs with a two-out single to left field, before Nicoll forced a groundout to end the game by a final score of 7-4 to pick up his second save of the season.
In Game 2, McCarty gave Florida A&M his second complete game effort of the season. The only earned run surrendered by the junior came in the top of the third inning on a leadoff home run by Vidal – his second of the day. Jackson State added single runs in the fourth and fifth with the help of some FAMU errors, but McCarty would hold them there after not allowing a hit over his final two frames.
Trailing 2-0 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Wilkinson got the Rattlers going with a double down the left field line. McDaniel was hit by a pitch, then Reese singled up the middle, scoring Wilkinson from second and trimming the lead to one.
After an unearned run for the Tigers in the top of the fifth, FAMU answered with three, two-out runs in the home half of the inning. Moyer led off with a double down the left field line. After a fly out to center by McCarty moved Moyer to third, Ellzey worked his second walk of the day to put runners on the corners. With two outs, Dallas Oliver singled through the left side, scoring Moyer. Wilkinson then came up clutch with his second double of the day after lining one over the outfielder's head in left, scoring both Ellzey and Oliver to give Florida A&M a 4-3 lead, which proved to be the final score.
Offensively, the Rattlers tallied 17 hits on the afternoon and improved their record to 16-2 when out-hitting their opponent. In Game 1, FAMU notched 10 hits, their 21st double digit hitting performance of the season. The Rattlers are now 15-6 in those games.
Russell Rauh (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI), Willis McDaniel (3-for-4, R), and Ben Ellzey (2-for-4, 2B, R) led the way in Game 1, while Garrett Wilkinson (2-for-3, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI) and Kaycee Reese (2-for-3, RBI) were standouts in Game 2.
Jordan Bolden (7-3) took the loss in Game 1 after allowing seven runs (two earned) on 10 hits in 7.1 innings for the Tigers. Jonathan Aponte (6-2) was dealt just his second loss of the season in Game 2 after allowing four runs on seven hits through 4.2 innings.
The two teams will square off for the series finale tomorrow at Moore-Kittles Field at 1:00 PM.