Winning three of their last six games gave the Florida A&M University baseball team momentum going into Tuesday’s match-up against Alabama State at Moore-Kittles Field.
The Rattlers used that momentum to topple the Hornets 9-3 as they rode the arm of freshman pitcher Timothy Schalch.
Schalch, making just his second start for the Rattlers, pitched a complete game striking out six, picking up his first victory of the season.
“Basically I was trying to throw strikes and let them hit the ball,” Schalch said. The young pitcher started the season off at second base and took the opportunity as coach Joe Durant held auditions for pitchers due to injuries and struggles of other pitchers.”This is just his second start and he went nine innings,” Durant said. “Tim is going to be in our conference rotation.”
Successful pitching kept the Hornets off balance, but it was the offense that showed up early in the contest to put the game away early.
Junior David James got the scoring started in the bottom of the second for the Rattlers with a two run triple that scored Darryl Evans and Elvin Millan giving FAMU a 2-0 lead. On the next pitch shortstop Adam Gordon singled in James to bring the score to 3-0.
After Jared Jeffries and Cirilo Manego walked to load the bases Hornet pitcher Neal Washington was able to retire Stanley Gnat to end the threat.
“That triple got things started for us and we must continue to come out like today knowing we are going to win,” said James.In the top of the third Alabama State first baseman Jonathan Stevens reached base on a lead off triple.
Freshman Christopher Davis scored Stevens on an opposite field single to bring the Hornets within two.
Washington was relieved in the bottom of the third by Jauquin Respress after walking Anthony Mazzeo.
Mazzeo stole second and was sacrificed to third by Darryl Evans who reached first on a fielding error by Respress.
Evans reached third base and Mazzeo scored on a throwing error by the catcher to put the Rattlers up 4-1. James drove in his third run with a fielder’s choice to bring Evans home. Adam Gordon doubled and Corey McFadden hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score James.
As the Hornets appealed the runner touching second base, Gordon tried to steal home and was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Hornets threatened the Rattlers in the top of the fourth with two runners on after an error and a base hit, but were unable to score any runs after Gordon turned an inning ending double play.
Cirilo Manego reached base on a one out single and Mazzeo doubled to center to put the runners in scoring position. Evans singled in Manego and Mazzeo to give the Rattlers an 8-1 lead, and FAMU never looked back.
Alabama State matched the Rattlers hit for hit down the stretch, but was unable to score base runners as they left eight runners on base.
FAMU welcomes MEAC conference leader Delaware State this weekend at Moore-Kittles Field in a three game series.
By taking the upcoming series versus the Hornets, the Rattlers will be back in the hunt for the MEAC crown.