TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 12) – The Florida A&M University Baseball team will open their 2019 campaign this weekend in New Orleans, in the 12th annual Urban Invitational Tournament, renamed the Andre Dawson Classic, after the Baseball Hall of Famer and former Rattler diamond great.
The collegiate tournament, sponsored by Major League Baseball (MLB), annually showcases baseball programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Last year the event was re-branded by MLB, becoming the Andre Dawson Classic, in honor of the former outfielder, who had a stellar 21-year MLB career which led to his enshrinement into the prestigious Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.
The 2019 Classic celebrates the sixth straight year that the City of New Orleans has hosted the tournament. The eight-team, round-robin event will be played at the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy, with games starting at noon on Friday and concluding Sunday evening.
This year’s tournament will take place from Friday through Sunday, February 15-17 in New Orleans, featuring an eight-team field which includes programs from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC(, and the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).
@ The SWAC teams will feature the Alabama State University Hornets (third appearance), the Alcorn State University Braves (fifth appearance), the Grambling State University Tigers (eighth appearance), the Prairie View A&M University Panthers (fifth appearance), the Southern University-Baton Rouge Jaguars (12th appearance), and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Lions (second appearance).
The Florida A&M University Rattlers, from the MEAC, are making their first-ever appearance, as are the Eastern Kentucky University Colonels from the Ohio Valley Conference.
FAMU’s CLASSIC SCHEDULE
*Friday, the Rattlers will open Classic play at 6:00 p.m. Central Time against old rival Southern University at the New Orleans Major League Baseball Youth Academy, 6403 Press Drive, New Orleans, LA 70112.
* Saturday, FAMU will face off against Eastern Kentucky live nationally on the MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET.
* Sunday, FAMU closes their Classic appearance against Arkansas at Pine Bluff at 2:00 p.m. Central Time at the at the MLB Youth Academy.
MORE ABOUT ANDRE DAWSON
Andre “The Hawk” Dawson, an alumnus of Florida A&M, and a member the Baseball Hall of Fame was an eight-time All-Star who racked up 2,774 hits, 1,591 RBIs and 498 home runs.
Dawson is one of five players in MLB history with 400-plus homers and 300-plus stolen bases. He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award (Montreal Expos) in 1977 and the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1987 (Chicago Cubs).
The Miami, Florida native’s major league career featured tours with the Montreal Expos (1976–1986), Chicago Cubs (1987–1992), Boston Red Sox (1993–1994), Florida Marlins (1995–1996).
ABOUT THE 2019 FAMU RATTLERS
Head coach Jamey Shouppe begins his sixth season at the helm of the Rattler Program, having led his charges to 132 wins the past five seasons, with a MEAC Championship (2015), and four Southern Division titles (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
Picked by MEAC coaches and SIDs to finish third in the five-team Southern Division behind defending overall champion North Carolina A&T, and perennial conference power and archrival Bethune-Cookman, the Rattlers placed four players on the Preseason All-MEAC Team: 3B Kaycee Reese, Sr. (.279, 46 hits, 29 runs, 8 2Bs, 4 HRs, 20 RBI), C Brett Maxwell (.270, 48 hits, 24 runs, 5 2Bs, HR, 30 RBIs), OF Willis McDaniel, Sr. (.253, 39 hits, 28 runs, 9 2Bs, 4 3Bs, 2 HRs, 21 RBI), and Relief Pitcher Dylan Carlson, Jr. (1-0, 2.33, 9 Saves 27.0 IP, 24Ks).
Other Rattler veterans to watch in 2019 include: INF Octavien Moyer, Jr. (.228, 28 hits, 29 runs, 7 2Bs, 4 HRs, 24 RBIs), OF Malachi Mitchell, R-Jr. (.278, 1 double, 4 RBI, 10 hits, 8 runs, 36 at-bats), RHP Chandellor Benton, Sr. (4-2, 4.38, 39.0 IP, 35 Ks), RHP Josh Barr, So. (3-3, 6.41 ERA, 26.2 IP, 17Ks), and P Jamie Grant (4-1, 3.28 ERA, 49.1 IP, 34 Ks).
FAMU will open its’ 2019 home schedule next Tuesday against the University of Missouri (4:00 p.m.) at Moore-Kittles Field, followed the next day by a bout with Mercer (Ga.) University (4:00), before opening a four-game weekend series against SWAC member Alcorn (Miss.) State University, Friday (5:00), Saturday (DH-12:30) and Sunday (12:30 p.m.).