Katherine Broomfield, Correspondent (@KatBroomFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida A&M Rattlers (13-5, 4-1 MEAC) played against the Savannah State Tigers in a doubleheader on Saturday at Moore-Kittles Field.
In the first game, FAMU had four runs in the seventh inning and three in the eighth to secure a 7-5 victory.
Cameron Johnson for the Rattlers had two runs batted in and pitcher JoJo Durden recorded seven strikeouts in five-and-two-thirds innings.
In the second game, the Rattlers had a better start with runs in the third and fourth innings. In the third inning, John Capra for the Rattlers continuously tried to steal second base, but pitcher Austin Robinson of SSU kept a strong look out. The play on the field would lead up to Ben Ellzey making a sacrifice fly and Capra bringing it home.
FAMU would take a 2-0 lead into the top of the fifth inning. Savannah State (9-10, 0-2 MEAC) scored three runs in the inning to take a 3-2 advantage. The momentum for both teams was high in the fifth, especially for the Tigers. Jacob Lightle made a bunt that landed him at second base and allowed Hector Benitez and Khalyd Cox to score.
In the bottom of the fifth, Johnson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring home Garret Wilkinson and tied the game at three.
“Their pitcher threw a great changeup,” head coach Jamey Shouppe said. “And I told our pitchers at the end of the game, ‘How important is a changeup ball? When that guy had nothing else, he threw 75 mph, but he had a good changeup ball. So it’s a lesson for us, but I was pleased with the way we continued battle.”
Durden tied a career high with seven strikeouts, and also had a season-high four walks.
Ellzey finished 3-for-7 with a run scored and two RBI. Wilkinson and Capra both went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Wilkinson added his second double of the season.
FAMU won the second game on a walk-off pitching error taking a 4-3 victory. FAMU sweeping the doubleheader against SSU improves their record 4-1 in the MEAC, while the games were the first in conference play for the Tigers.
FAMU will look to sweep the Tigers on Sunday to complete the weekend’s series at 1 p.m.
“We gotta come out and play baseball,” Shoupee said. “I don’t really worry about the other team, I worry about how we play. So, we can’t come out complacent, we gotta come out and swop the series with 1 and 10. So, when we walk in that gate tomorrow we have to do everything we can to win a baseball game.”