With a 7-25-1 record and at the bottom of the totem pole in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with a record of 1-10, Rattlers are looking for answers.
Head coach Robert Lucas talked about his reason for this year’s unsuccessful season in the past saying that it was the lack of experience that this year’s team had. Only three of his players have played more than one season of high school baseball before coming to Florida A&M, he said.
The Rattlers returned home after coming back from a seven game losing streak they looked to get back into the win column as they went up against the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in a weekend series.
Both teams are at the bottom of the conference standings heading into the final half of the season and have similar records.
Maryland Eastern Shore took two-out-of-three from Florida A&M as they defeated the Rattlers, 17-10 Sunday afternoon at Moore-Kittles Field.
Even though the Rattlers tried to stop the University of Maryland Eastern their final at-bat as they were down 17-10 in the ninth they came up short.
Assistant coach Brett Richardson said, “I don’t think our problem is with scoring runs. Our problem is with keeping the opposition from scoring runs. That’s the problem we have been having all season. We will go as far as those guys on the mound can take us.”
Relief pitcher Kelvin Hale produced on the mound against the Hawks, but he could not shut down big bats in two innings. Steven Dollar (3-6) started and took the loss after five innings.
Not only does the loss set Florida A&M back two games behind the Hawks for the final playoff spot, it means the Rattlers have to win their two remaining MEAC series for any chance at making the postseason.
Maryland-Eastern Shore (4-34, 3-11 MEAC) finished the game with game high 17 hits and team leader Ryan Chaikowsky, went four-for-six from the plate, scoring one run with three RBIs.
Florida A&M (8-26-1, 1-11 MEAC) earned 12 hits and four players finished with two hit’s each. The Rattlers remained in seventh place, while visiting UMES (4-34, 3-11) retained their hold on sixth place.
“All we have to do is keep playing hard,” Richardson said. “Like I tell the guys, keep your head up and keep pushing. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us.”
The Rattlers play their next conference series Saturday and Sunday against Coppin State University at home. As Maryland Eastern Shore will go on to face the conference leader Bethune-Cookman University in a weekend series.
If Bethune-Cookman University sweeps Maryland Eastern Shore and the Rattlers can achieve two wins against Coppin State this would leave both FAMU and UMES tied a create a possible playoff to make it into the postseason.
“Averting the possibility of a tie would require a change in defensive flaws that has plagued the team all season,” said Richardson.