A cloudy day and a rainy forecast set the stage as the Florida A&M baseball team (9-19) warmed up to play the Savannah State Tigers in a doubleheader, which began at 1.p.m. Saturday at Moore-Kittles Field in Tallahassee.
The Tigers (21-14) came into Saturday’s games five games above .500 sporting a 19-14 record. But the Rattlers, who came into the game riding a three-game winning streak, were ready for action.
The Rattlers got in trouble early in the game, falling behind 6-0 after the first two innings.
But the resilient Rattlers fought back in the bottom of the third, with a three-run homer by sophomore second basemen Corey McFadden, which brought the Rattlers within four runs.
The Rattlers had another big inning in the bottom of the fifth, when sophomore infielder Allen DeCambra knocked in two runs with a long ball of his own.
That was followed up by an RBI single by junior outfielder Tony Mazzeo.
“Our bats are definitely coming alive at this point in the season,” said freshman outfielder Arien Cannon, a 19-year-old freshman business administration student from Columbia, S.C. “We just have to put it all together: pitching, defense, and hitting. Then we will be a complete team.”
The two teams continued to trade runs heading into the ninth and final inning, with the Tigers leading 11-9.
After two base hits and a walked batter, the Rattlers had the perfect opportunity to strike with the bases loaded and only one out.
But the Tigers’ pitching would get the best of the rallying Rattlers, striking out the final two batters to end game one 11-9 in favor of the Tigers.
After a 30-minute break, the two teams were ready to go at it again, this time for seven innings instead of the standard nine they played in the first game.
Savannah State started off the game with a triple to left field, scoring two runs in the first inning.
The Rattlers responded with a first inning score of their own, on an RBI single by infielder Stanley Gnat.
Catcher Elvin Millan Jr. tacked on another run with a base hit in the bottom of the second inning to bring the Rattlers within one at 2-3 in favor of Savannah State.
That’s when the game was stopped momentarily due to inclement weather.
Following the delay in the action, Savannah State widened the gap scoring six runs in the third inning, giving the Tigers a 9-2 advantage.
“Sometimes all it takes is to get that first out in an inning. If we can get the first out quick, then its easier to get out of the inning and back up to bat,” said junior outfielder Edmond Bushnell, a 21-year-old junior animal science student from Silver Spring, M.D.
The Rattlers would fight back again, pulling to within two runs by the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Tigers dealt another critical blow to the Rattlers in the top of the seventh, scoring a runner from third on a squeeze bunt.
This time the Rattlers could not respond, and the second game ended with a 10-7 final.
Sunday’s game three of the series, which began at 1 p.m., also went to the Tigers, which completed their weekend sweep of the Rattlers with a 4-3 win.
The Rattlers play the first of a two-game series versus North Florida Tuesday at home at 7 p.m.
The final game of the series is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Contact Kenneth Whaley at email@example.com