SALISBURY, Md. -- After scoring two runs in the opening frame, Florida A&M (23-23, 15-9 MEAC) broke the game open with six runs in the fifth inning on its way to an 8-2 win against Bethune-Cookman (19-40, 14-10 MEAC) for the MEAC championship on Saturday at Perdue Stadium. The win gave the Rattlers an NCAA regional berth for the first time in program history and their first MEAC title since 1994. It also marks the seventh MEAC title for FAMU (1987, 88, 90-92, 94, 2015).
Brandon Fleming, Ricky Page, Chase Jarrell and Brian Davis were each named to the all-tournament team, while Fleming was named the MEAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Rattler starter Chase Jarrell (2-4) earned the win after a stellar outing as he worked 6.1 innings, tying for his second-longest appearance of the season. Jarrell allowed just two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Florida A&M reliever Alex Carrasco came in to pitch the final 2.2 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit with three strikeouts. Carrasco struck out the final two batters he faced in the ninth inning to complete the win.
AJ Elkins (2-for-4), Marlon Gibbs (2-for-3), Michael Birdsong (2-for-5) and Peter Jackson (2-for-4) all recorded multi-hits in the game for FAMU. Ryan Kennedy had two RBI and a run scored, while Jackson also added two RBI on the day.
The Rattlers outscored their opponents 26-8 in the three games and pounded out 38 hits en route to the championship. The pitching staff combined for a 1.67 ERA in the tournament and was 23:8 on strikeouts to walks.
FAMU scored first with a pair of runs, on two hits, for a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Jared Walker drew a leadoff walk and moved to third as Elkins followed with a double down the left line. With runners on first and second, Gibbs took a 2-2 count for an RBI single into left field to plate Walker for the first run of the game. Elkins had moved to third on Gibbs’ single and then scored on Kennedy’s sac fly to right.
Florida A&M broke the game open with six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as it sent 12 batters to the plate. Walker reached on a fielder’s choice as Peter Jackson was out at second for the first out of the inning. Elkins followed with a bunt single and Gibbs was walked to load the bases with one out. That forced a pitching change as Sidney Duprey came in for relief for Bethune. With the bases loaded, Kennedy drew a walk to bring home Walker and Davis was hit in the helmet to plate Elkins for the second run of the inning. Birdsong kept things rolling with a bases-loaded RBI single and Jackson’s two-out, two-run single up the middle to made the score 8-0.
Bethune-Cookman made the score 8-1 with a single run, on three hits, in the sixth inning. Nathan Bond doubled off the wall in right field, with one out, in the sixth and came around to score on Austin Garcia’s RBI single to left center.
B-CU added one more run as Brandon Amendolare hit his first career home run to lead off the seventh inning in what ended up being the final score of 8-2.
Bethune-Cookman starter Michael Austin (3-4) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings of work. Austin recorded three strikeouts and three walks.