Rattlers rally for 11-9 win

Photo courtesy: FAMU Athletics

The Rattlers battled through adversity on Friday in a way they had not faced since the beginning of the season, rallying for an 11-9 win.

Florida A&M has comfortably taken down the Alabama A&M Aggies in most contests since joining the SWAC in 2021. In the first game of the second-weekend series matchup between the two, AAMU was not planning on making it easy.

Alabama A&Ms offense got off to an early and hot start, chasing dominant ace junior Caleb Granger after just three innings.

Grangers uncharacteristic appearance consisted of seven hits, six earned runs, and four free passes. Granger had only five days of rest this week after the Rattlers played a Sunday doubleheader in Itta Bena, Mississippi, against Mississippi Valley State before closing the series on Monday and traveling back to Tallahassee.

The Aggies starter, Anthony Mateo, was not in the clear either. After AAMU scored two runs in the first, Janmikell Bastardo quickly tied the game up with a two-run home run to left field.

Granger kept the Aggies off the board in the second, allowing FAMU to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning with the second home run of the day off the bat of Ben Kim.

The Aggies quickly retook the lead in the third inning, taking advantage of Grangers free passes on a walk and hit-by-pitch to take a 4-2 lead on two singles.

However, the Rattlers struck twice in the bottom half of the inning, capitalizing on errors and walks to tie it up 4-4.

The fourth inning proved disastrous for Granger as a leadoff single led to a two-run shot by Brycen Hammonds, who was 3-for-5 on the day. Hammonds leads AAMU in batting average this season, and that was his second home run of the year.

 FAMU coach Jamey Shouppe opted for Andrew Ginter following the home run, and the middle reliever sat the next three Aggies down to eliminate the threat.

The Aggies tacked on a run in the fifth on an RBI single, extending their lead to three.

After failing to push any runs across in the fourth inning following a leadoff single by True Fontenot, the Rattlers tied the game up following an RBI single and a fielders choice.

Defensive miscues at first base and in centerfield allowed AAMU to take a 9-7 lead in the top half of the sixth, but FAMU was able to generate a couple of walks and a single to bring the lead back to one.

Ginther held AAMU scoreless in the seventh, allowing FAMU to finally cease playing catchup and take the lead with two RBI walks to make it 10-9.

The Rattlers held the lead for the rest of the night, tacking on one more in the eighth to make it 11-9.

Closer Grant Harrison relieved Ginter and struck out three Aggies in a row to secure the Rattlersgame-one win.

The two teams are back at it at Moore-Kittles Field on Saturday at 2 p.m. for a chance to score their fourth-straight SWAC weekend series win.