TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M (30-19, 19-5 MEAC) posted its first 30-win season since 2003 after sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader over North Carolina A&T (13-41, 6-18 MEAC) by scores of 12-2 and 7-2 at Moore-Kittles Field. The 30-win season is also just the third for FAMU since becoming a Division I program in 1980. The Rattlers tallied 39 runs and totaled 48 hits in the three-game series with NC A&T. On Senior Day, senior left fielder Marlon Gibbs belted his first-career grand slam to end game one by mercy rule.
With double digit hits in all three games this weekend, FAMU finished the regular season with 10+ hits in 28-of-49 (57%) games. Gibbs went 3-for-5 with a double, home run and five RBI in game one, while Ben Ellzey finished game one going 2-for-4 with a double, home run and two RBI. In game two, five different Rattlers had multi-hit performances as Brian Davis (2-for-3), Dylan Dillard (2-for-3), Jacky Miles, Jr. (2-for-2), Ellzey (2-for-3) and AJ Elkins (2-for-3) all had two hits in the game. Elkins had a double and a triple and tied a career-high with three RBI. Alec Wong and Davis each had home runs in game two as Florida A&M totaled 14 extra base hits in Saturday’s two games.
JoJo Durden (2-2) earned the game one win for FAMU after pitching a complete game and allowing just two runs as NC A&T scattered five hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Chase Jarrell (6-3) picked up the win in game two as he worked six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
In game one, the Rattlers scored first with an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. After Dillard reached on a three-base error as left fielder Ryan Jantsch was unable to make the catch, Miles, Jr. plated Dillard with a sac fly to deep center field for the first run of the day.
Florida A&M tacked on five more runs in the third inning to increase its lead to 6-0. Peter Jackson led off with a double off the fence in left field, moved to second on a fly out to center field from Gibbs and scored on an RBI single to left field from Wong. With two outs, Dillard tripled home Wong with a ball down the left line that kicked out in the corner away from the left fielder. Miles, Jr. followed with his second RBI of the day, this time on a single up the middle that brought home Dillard from third. Ellzey then blasted his fourth home run of the season over the fence in left field to account for the runs in the inning.
FAMU pushed the lead to 7-0 with a single run in the sixth inning as Gibbs recorded an RBI double. Jackson started things off with a double down the left line and scored the only run of the inning as Gibbs followed with another double down the left line.
NC A&T scored their only two runs of the game in the seventh inning as Jarrett Norman hit his third home run of the season, a two-run home run to left field, that cut into the FAMU lead at 7-2.
Game one ended in a special way as senior Marlon Gibbs belted his first-career grand slam on Senior Day to end the game by a score of 12-2 in seven innings. Dillard walked and went to second on a passed ball before Miles, Jr. walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. Dillard then advanced to third when Ellzey grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. After AJ Elkins walked, Ryan Hutson’s RBI single through the left side brought home Dillard for the eighth run of the game. Jackson also drew a walk to load the bases with two outs before Gibbs grand slam over the left field fence ended the game as the mercy rule was in effect.
In game two, the Aggies scored first with a single run in the first inning. Sowell led off the game with a triple into right center and scored on a groundout to short by Timothy Ravare.
The Rattlers would tie the game at 1-1 with a run in the second inning. Dillard led off with a single through the left side and Miles, Jr. was hit-by-pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Ellzey then reached on a bunt single to load the bases and Dillard came home for the tying run on a sac fly to right from Elkins.
North Carolina A&T came right back with another run in the top of the third inning to re-take the lead at 2-1. Sowell reached on an infield single with one out, for his second hit of the game, and went to second as Ravare grounded out. Back-to-back wild pitches would allow Sowell to advance two bases and score from second for the Aggies’ final run of the game.
With one out in the third inning, Wong’s towering solo home run to right field tied the game at 2-2.
FAMU grabbed its first lead of game two with two runs in the fourth inning that made the score 4-2. Ellzey led off by reaching on a ground rule double, as his double bounced over the wall in center field, and scored on an RBI triple into the right center gap from Elkins. Hutson then followed with an RBI double off the wall down the left line, right at the foul pole, as Elkins easily came home to score.
Florida A&M took control of the game with three more runs in the fifth inning in what proved to be the final score of 7-2. Davis led off with his seventh home run of the season, over the scoreboard in right center field, to increase the Florida A&M lead to 5-2. Dillard and Miles, Jr. followed with back-to-back singles and with one out, Elkins doubled home Dillard as Miles, Jr. advanced to third on the play. With runners on second and third, Miles, Jr. beat out the throw to the plate to score the final run of the game as Hutson reached on a fielder’s choice.
Senior Kendal Weeks came in to pitch a scoreless seventh inning and allowed just one hit in his final game at Moore-Kittles Field to secure the sweep over North Carolina A&T.
Tevelle Clark (3-4) took the game one loss for the Aggies after he pitched five innings and allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Will Greene (1-9) suffered the loss for NC A&T in game two after giving up four runs on seven hits in three innings of work with one strikeout and one walk.
Florida A&M travels to the MEAC Baseball Tournament next week as the overall No.1 seed out of the Southern Division and will face the winner between North Carolina Central and Delaware State on Friday, May 20, at 12:00 PM.