DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 17) – Exactly one week since suffering a bitter doubleheader loss to North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, the FAMU Baseball exacted revenge in the sweetest way – scoring a 6-2 knockout of the defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, and punching their ticket for their first title shot since last winning it all in 2015.
FAMU (25-32) will seek to settle one last score in Saturday’s 1:00 p.m. championship round, as they face off against Northern Division winner Norfolk State, which dealt them a 7-2 defeat in Thursday’s second round of the tournament, forcing them to reach the finals through the loser’s bracket.
The Rattlers will have to win another doubleheader Saturday against the Spartans, who need just one win to claim the 2019 crown.
But this 2019 Rattler squad has been a valiant group of performers, who have demonstrated the knack of bouncing back time and again.
While their comeback story began after dropping their first six games to open the season, it was their late season surge which saw them win 10 of their final 13 MEAC games to go from fourth place to a first place tie before that bitter doubleheader loss in Greensboro.
Friday, FAMU became the eliminator, knocking out Delaware State, 9-8 in extra innings, rallying from a 6-1 deficit to force the extra frame before winning it in the 10th.
In the literal nightcap, FAMU led from wire-to-wire, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the third on two hits and an error, before boosting their lead to 3-0 when Kaycee Reese’s RBI double scored Willis McDaniel.
The Aggies (29-24) scored their lone runs in the bottom of the fifth on Brandon Melendez’s two-run homer for a 3-2 count, but superb pitching of the FAMU staff kept the Aggies at bay down the stretch.
FAMU increased their lead to 4-2, on Seyjuan Lawrence’s RBI double scoring Willis McDaniel in the sixth inning, then they added two more in the eighth on Kaycee Reese’s two-run single, scoring Jared Weber and McDaniel.
Reese led FAMU with three hits and three RBI, with Weber adding two hits. Lawrence and Moyer each drove in a run, as the Rattlers finished with eight hits.
The Rattler pitching limited the Aggies to six scattered hits, with the quartet of starter Josh Wilson, and relievers Chris Clark, Jamie Grant and closer Jeremiah McCollum combining to strikeout eight against five walks.
Wilson (3-4), allowed two runs on four hits in five innings, with four strikeouts to get the win for the Rattlers.