The Florida A&M baseball team struggled offensively as it lost 7-1 to the University of North Florida Ospreys Tuesday night on Dusty Rhodes Field at Harmon Stadium.
The Rattlers drop to a 5-20 record on the season and a 3-3 record in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference. UNF sits on a 17-9 record overall.
“We lost 7-1, but I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed in my team,” head coach Willie Brown said. “We played good; we got some good hits in. Grant and West made some good hits. Any team knows that when you score only one run, it’s going to be hard to beat your opponent. We never gave up; we just have to work on getting those timely hits.”
The Ospreys took the lead at the start of the game, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning.
The Rattlers started slowly and struggled with timely hits. UNF’s Tyler Moore struck out three batters, while Chandler Jagodzinski struck out five.
Ryan Sheplak, who had two at bats and two strikeouts, said FAMU’s woes in the batters’ box was the reason for its defeat.
“It was a good game, although we had a couple of plays that could’ve changed the game and gave us the lead,” Sheplak said. “The pitchers did great and kept us in the game. Our hitting just wasn’t there to back the pitchers up. We knew North Florida was a good team, but we definitely should have come out on top.”
Left fielder Daniel Lee cut into the Ospreys’ lead with a run in the top of the fourth inning. He stole third base and the Rattlers scored with a single to left field.
“We came out and played hard,” said right fielder Scott Sheplak. “They scored three runs in the first inning on us, so we knew they were going to hit the ball well. We had a couple good hits, but they just weren’t those ‘timely’ hits we need to score more runs.”
Timing issues left the Rattlers scoreless as the Ospreys scored another three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“They threw multiple good pitches at us, and we made good adjustments on the field and responded to the different pitchers,” Sheplak said. “But like I said, we should have scored more runs.”
Neither team scored during the final three innings.
“We had opportunities to score and couldn’t,” FAMU’s Heath Blackburn said. “We know for our next game that we just have to produce the runs we need to win. We’re getting to the point where we know we have to play the game our way from start to finish.”
The Rattlers will return to action on Saturday against North Carolina A&T at the Moore-Kittles Baseball Complex.