Florida A&M’s midweek struggles continued Wednesday night at John Sessions Stadium as the Rattlers (19-17, 9-6 MEAC) fell 10-6 to Jacksonville (23-16, 8-1 ASUN). For FAMU it was the fifth consecutive midweek loss, as the Rattlers last midweek victory came on March 1st at home against Mercer.
Once again it was defense that plagued the Rattlers, as four errors contributed to six unearned runs for the Dolphins, proving to be the difference in the contest.
After FAMU starting pitcher Josh Wilson retired the first two hitters in the bottom of the second inning, Florida A&M committed their first error of the night on a dropped throw at first base that extended the inning. Jacksonville capitalized on the extra opportunity, as the next four batters would record a hit, giving the Dolphins an early 3-0 lead.
Wilson (0-3) settled in after the second, facing the minimum six batters over his next two innings. The freshman dropped his third decision of the year with no earned runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts through four innings.
Ty Russ relieved Wilson in the fifth and allowed back-to-back doubles to the only two hitters he faced. Jamie Grant entered for Russ and would have escaped the inning only allowing two runs, but a misplayed fly ball in the outfield and a failed rundown execution led to two additional unearned runs for JU, extending their lead to 7-0.
The Dolphins added two runs in the sixth off Thomas Nicoll, and another unearned run in the seventh off Danny Rodriguez to take a commanding 10-0 lead.
Florida A&M’s first runs of the day came in the top of the eighth, as they scored four runs on four hits and one error and sent all nine hitters to the plate. Aubrey McCarty got things going with a one-out double over the right fielder’s head. After Willis McDaniel walked, Kodi Russ singled to left to load the bases for Ben Ellzey who drove in the first run for the Rattlers with another single. Malachi Mitchell drove in a run with an infield single before Cameron Johnson and Kaycee Reese contributed with RBI fielder’s choices to cut the deficit to 10-4.
Kodi Russ drilled a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning, his first of the season, scoring Danny Rodriguez who had reached on an error, for a final score of 10-6.
Russ led the Rattlers at the dish, finishing 2-for-2 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. Ellzey also had a multi-hit outing as he was 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.
Greg Shannahan (1-0) picked up the win for the Dolphins after pitching 1.2 scoreless innings in relief of starter Mark Potter who exited after just 3.1 innings.
Florida A&M will return to action this Saturday, April 22 as they travel to Savannah, Georgia to face the Savannah State Tigers. The Rattlers won all three contests against Savannah State at Moore-Kittles Field earlier this season.