THE RECORD: Following the two-game mid-week road series in Macon, Ga., against Mercer University, the Rattlers head into their third weekend of play, 2-9 overall, the two victories coming during a four-game split with Alcorn State at home last weekend.
THE LAST TIME OUT: The Rattlers traveled to Macon, Ga., for a midweek series against Mercer, which nipped FAMU, 7-6 in Tallahassee on Feb. 20… Tuesday evening, the Rattlers took an early 3-1 lead before falling, 16-3 to the Bears. On Wednesday, FAMU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first before dropping a hard-fought 5-1 decision.
LAST WEEK’S ACTION: The Rattlers opened their 2019 home schedule with a six-game, six-day home stand at Moore-Kittles Field, a facility which saw a number of fan-friendly upgrades completed in the offseason, including new concrete walkways around the park from the parking lot, and a sparkling new scoreboard…. FAMU opened the stand with a tough 5-3 loss to SEC West member Missouri (Tuesday, Feb. 19), followed by an 8-7 nail-biting loss Mercer (Wednesday, Feb. 20)…. Later in the week, FAMU opened a four-game series against the Alcorn (Miss.) State Brave s, helmed by former Rattler catcher and assistant coach, Bretton Richardson…. The entire four-game set was hard-fought from end to end, with Braves winning the opener, 5-4 (Friday, Feb. 22)…. On Saturday (Feb. 23), FAMU earned a doubleheader split, winning the opening game, 11-7, before heartbreak set in again, with the Braves escaping with an 8-7 verdict in the second game…. Sunday’s getaway game was a back-and-forth affair as the other three games had been, but the Rattlers prevailed to earn a series split, 8-7.
FAMU’S LEADING MEN: Senior centerfielder Willis McDaniel (.341, 14 hits, two doubles, one homer, five RBI) is out to the early lead in the race for the 2019 batting title, with shortstop Ryan Coscarella (.292, 7 hits, 4 RBIs), outfielder Seyjuan Lawrence (.282, 11 hits, a team-high five doubles, a homer and five RBI), catcher Brett Maxwell (.278, 10 hits, two doubles, six RBI), second baseman Octavien Moyer (.270, 10 hits, two doubles, a homer, and five RBI) ranking as the other early title contenders…. Other plate performers who will bear watching as the season wears on include third baseman Kaycee Reese (.250, , 7 hits, a double, three RBI) and newcomer Brad Hession (.250, five runs, five hits, a double and a homer, plus four RBI).
On the mound, Dylan Carlson has a save in four appareances (4.0 innings), with five strikeouts against no walks… Reliever Jeremiah McCollum has one win in two appearances with 2.2 innings worked…. Veteran startr Josh Wilson (1-1, 8.64 ERA), has fanned six hitters in 8.1 innings, with Kyle Coleman (15Ks in 11 innings) and another veteran, Josh Basr (11 Ks in a team high 14 innings) in a tight race for the team strikeout crown… Seven (7) FAMU pitchers have recorded five (5) or more strikeouts so far, and three of those have eight or more so far.
NOTES N BITS: Seven (7) of the Rattlers’ games this year have been decided by four runs or less, and four games have been determined by a single run…. The Rattlers can definitely improve their fortunes, especially in those close quarter games, if they deliver the big hit more consistently… Through 11 games, FAMU has left 117 runners on base, and Rattler batters have struck out 99 times in the first 11 games.
WHO’S ON DECK: The Jackson (Miss.) State University Tigers will be the fourth and final Southwestern Athletic Conference club the Rattlers will face this season, visiting Moore-Kittles Field for a three-game series beginning Friday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m. Saturday’s clash will be at 2:00 p.m., and Sunday’s series finale starts at 12:30 p.m….. Speaking of the SWAC, the Rattlers have already dueled with Southern University of Baton Rouge and Arkansas Pine Bluff in the Andre Dawson Classic in New Orleans, before last weekend’s four-game home series against the Alcorn State (Miss.) University Braves.