TALLAHASSEE, FL – FAMU athletics fans will get all the action they can handle this weekend. Not only will the football team play their first Spring game in the last couple of years, and the Softball team will play at home on ESPNU, but Florida A&M Baseball (17-15, 7-5 MEAC) will host Southern Division rival Bethune-Cookman (21-15, 8-4 MEAC) in a pivotal conference series.
The three-game series is scheduled for 5:00 PM on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1:00 PM at Moore-Kittles Field and will surely have postseason implications on the line.
The Rattlers took two out of three games in the first conference series of the season earlier this year in Daytona Beach on their way to a 5-1 start in MEAC play. Since then, FAMU has been on a bit of a slide as they have dropped four of their last six MEAC contests. This weekend could go a long way in determining which team wins the MEAC Southern Division and earns a first-round bye in the MEAC Conference Tournament in May.
Florida A&M got off to an incredible start in 2017 with a 14-5 record, proving that they can be an extremely tough team to beat when they put it all together, but have struggled since, losing 10 of their last 13 games. The Rattlers enter the series coming off a tough midweek loss to North Florida, as the Ospreys won on a walk off double in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Bethune-Cookman enters this weekend’s series coming off a series win at Savannah State and a midweek loss to Florida International. The Wildcats are 4-6 in their last 10 games and currently sit at the top of the MEAC Southern Division with an 8-4 record through the first half of conference play.
The Rattlers are paced by Aubrey McCarty who leads the team in several major offensive categories: hits (43), runs scored (24), RBI (32), doubles (8), home runs (7), and slugging percentage (.587). After not seeing much playing time during his freshman campaign, Kaycee Reese has also been a big lift for the Rattlers as he currently leads the team in batting average (.349) and on base percentage (.472).
The Wildcats are led by the trio of Jameel Edney (.331 BA, 17 2B), Danny Rodriguez (.309 BA, 11 2B, 4 HR) and Demetrius Sims (.348 BA 5 3B, .442 OBP).
Florida A&M will send junior right-hander Ryan Anderson (0-2, 4.04 ERA) to the mound on Friday afternoon. Aubrey McCarty (4-2, 3.86 ERA) will start the first game on Saturday, while JoJo Durden (2-3, 3.66 ERA) will take the hill for the series finale.
Bethune will counter with freshman Anthony Maldanado (5-1, 2.89 ERA) on Friday and Tyler Norris (4-0, 3.45 ERA) and Tyler Krull (3-1, 3.74 ERA) on Saturday.
Make sure to come out to FAMU this weekend and get in on all the action!
As always, fans can follow Rattler Baseball on Twitter @BaseballFAMU and on Facebook.