By Stacey Ragin/FAMU Sports Information Intern
TALLAHASSEE, FL. (Feb. 13)– After a 31-21 season last year, losing only 7 of their 26 home games, and 5 of their 24 conference games, the Florida A&M University Rattler baseball team is hitting the field once again, looking to dominate in the MEAC.
Although many of the same players who contributed to the Rattlers’ most wins since 2003 are returning to bat, pitch or catch this season, the absence of one major player will be felt.
Due to an in-practice injury, it was announced on Monday that senior catcher Jacky Miles Jr., will not be playing in this upcoming season. This will make a major impact on the Rattler battery and elsewhere, as Miles Jr. has been an influential player both on and off of the field.
“You hate to lose a player like Jacky… He’s a great guy, a great leader on this team, and it’s a responsibility definitely… A big pair of shoes to fill… It’s all about getting out here and being a team player and filling the role that the team needs,” junior first baseman Brian Davis, who is expected to fill the void left from Miles Jr.’s injury said.
Despite the fact that the Rattlers will be without Miles Jr., head coach Jamey Shouppe is still enthusiastic about the upcoming season that officially begins on Friday.
“We’re just excited… We feel like we’re going to be pretty good offensively, we feel like we’ve got a chance pitching-wise… Everybody’s got a chance this time of year, that’s the beauty of baseball… We’re excited to get Friday here and get going,” Shouppe said.
And he isn’t the only one eager to get going on the diamond, as the team gears up to finally face players who wear different color jerseys than they do.
“I plan to help just executing every pitch and going out getting the ball for my teammates… I’ve been looking forward to it since last year ended, so I’ve been working everyday just to get back on track,” junior pitcher Ryan Anderson said.
Fans will be able to cheer the Rattlers on at home, with 12 of the first 13 games of the season being held at FAMU’s own Moore-Kittles baseball field. The first of a three game, non-conference, match up against the Wofford Terriers will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday.