TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M (11-5, 2-1 MEAC) is set to host Savannah State (9-8, 0-0 MEAC) for a three-game series beginning with a double header Saturday at 1:00 PM. The Rattlers will look to continue their strong start to MEAC play and continue their recent success over the Tigers. FAMU won four of six meetings last season against SSU.
Florida A&M enters the series having lost their last two contests. The Rattlers dropped the second game of a doubleheader against Bethune-Cookman 1-5 and lost on Tuesday night to Jacksonville 5-12. Despite the recent struggles, Florida A&M is still off to their best start under Head Coach Jamey Shouppe after winning 11 of their first 16 games.
Savannah State enters the series having swept Mount St. Mary’s last weekend by scores of 9-1, 6-5 and 9-8. The Tigers midweek game was rained out.
FAMU’s offense has gotten off to a hot start once again in 2017. As of Wednesday, March 15th, the Rattlers currently rank in the top 52 teams nationally in six separate offensive categories: 50th in batting average (.302), 44th in hits (171), 24th in walks (90), 29th in on-base percentage (.406), 52nd in runs (114), and 52nd in scoring (7.1).
FAMU has six everyday players batting .328 or better. Kaycee Reese leads the team with a .409 batting average, while Brian Davis and Willis McDaniel lead the team with seven extra-base hits. Davis also leads the team with 18 RBI in just 16 games, and junior transfer John Capra leads the team with 24 hits and 15 runs scored.
So far in 2017, Florida A&M also features an improved pitching staff. After setting a program record in team ERA (4.71) in 2015 with the first-ever under 5.00, the Rattlers struggled through 2016, finishing with a team ERA of 5.22. Through 16 games this season, Pitching Coach Bryan Henry has the Rattlers on a record-setting pace, with a current team ERA of 4.13.
Although Florida A&M is improved on the mound and is playing well offensively, defensive struggles are keeping the Rattlers from playing to their full potential. FAMU has made two or more errors in 11-of-16 games this season, and has three starters with seven errors or more, for a .940 team fielding percentage.
Savannah State is led offensively by Bryce Luken and Turner Davis who are hitting .361 and .354 respectively. Davis also leads the Tigers with four doubles and 18 RBI. SSU also returns two starting pitchers from last year’s weekend rotation, Trevor McKenna (2-1, 2.78 ERA) and Austin Robinson (0-1, 3.20 ERA).
Make sure to come out to Moore-Kittles Field this weekend to support your Florida A&M Rattlers and enjoy this weekend’s 5th annual alumni weekend festivities!
As always, fans can follow Rattler Baseball on Twitter @BaseballFAMU and on Facebook.