GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida A&M (23-25) watched its’ season come to and end with an 8-1 loss to #21 Florida Atlantic (41-18) in the NCAA Gainesville Regional at McKethan Stadium on Saturday. The Rattlers cut the lead to 2-1 in the fifth inning on Brian Davis’ leadoff home run to right, but was unable to break through with several opportunities in the final four innings. FAU had the leadoff batter reach in each of the final six innings as the Owls added five runs in the top of the ninth inning to put the game out of reach.
Marlon Gibbs went 2-for-3 with a walk on the day and was 3-for-7 in the two games of the Gainesville Regional for FAMU.
Rattler starter Ryan Anderson (1-4) worked 3 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and one strikeout. Both runs came on two hits with two walks in the fourth inning.
FAU scored first with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning. Brendon Sanger led off the fourth with a single to center and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Ricky Santiago popped up to first, Roman Collins drew a walk to place runners at first and second. Esteban Puerta then doubled to the left center gap to bring home Sanger for the first run of the game. Christian Dicks followed with a walk on five pitches to load the bases with one out. That forced a pitching change as Brandon Fleming came in to pitch for the Rattlers. Collins would come home for the second run of the inning as CJ Chatham reached on a fielder’s choice as he just beat out the throw to first on a double play ball. Fleming would then strikeout Ryan Miller to end the inning.
FAMU cut the lead in half, to 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Davis led off the inning by belting his second home run of the season over the fence in right.
Florida Atlantic answered right back in the top of the sixth as Dicks led off with his eighth home run of the season to push its’ lead back to two at 3-1.
The Rattlers had a scoring chance slip away in the bottom of the sixth inning after loading the bases with one out. Peter Jackson reached on a fielding error by Owl second baseman Stephen Kerr and Jared Walker followed with a bunt single to put runners on first and second. A great sacrifice bunt from AJ Elkins moved the runners to second and third, while Marlon Gibbs walked on four pitches to load the bases. Still with one out and the bases loaded, Ryan Kennedy fouled out to second base. The Owls then made a pitching change as Devon Carr came in for relief and struck out the first batter he faced, in Davis, as the Rattlers left the bases loaded.
FAMU had another chance in the eighth inning and again wasn’t able to score. Elkins and Gibbs recorded back-to-back singles with one out to put runners on first and second. Kennedy then reached on a fielder’s choice, as Gibbs was out at second, putting runners on the corners with two outs. With runners on the corners and a chance to cut the FAU lead to one, Davis went down swinging to strand the two runners.
Florida Atlantic put the game out of reach with five runs in the top of the ninth inning, including a three-run home run from Puerta for the final score of 8-1.
FAU starter Kyle Miller (7-3) pitched 5 2/3 innings and only allowed one run on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Miller retired the first 11 Rattler batters he faced as the first FAMU hit didn’t come until the fourth inning.
The Owls will face the loser of tonight’s Florida/South Florida winner’s bracket game, which is scheduled for a 6:00 PM first pitch.
Courtesy: FAMU Athletics