The FAMU Baseball team won game three in the MEAC series against North Carolina A&T at Moore-Kittles Field Sunday completing the sweep.
Ricky Paige, the 5-foot-11, 185 pound junior, was the starting pitcher for the game. Head coach Jamey Shouppe thinks Paige pitched well, but the outfield did not do a good job backing him which led to early runs.
“Paige came out and threw well but we weren’t playing very good defense behind him,”Shouppe said. “There ended up being hits that shouldn’t have been made.”
The Rattlers defense wasn't on track allowing the Aggies to take the lead, 3-1, at the top of the fourth. This forced coach Shouppe to make an adjustment to the pitching inserting relief pitcher Kendal Weeks into the rotation. After Weeks made his first pitch, the momentum of the game changed.
Coach Shouppe believes that putting Weeks on the mound is what won the game for the Rattlers.
“Kendal really came in and settled things down,” Shouppe said. “He walked the first guy he pitched, but after that he immediately snapped back and starting striking guys out back to back.”
Defense wasn’t a strong point for the Aggies either. With the bases loaded for the Rattlers, MEAC Player of the Week Alec Wong managed to get walked to first base, bringing home AJ Elkins, making the score 3-2 at the bottom of the fourth.
Wong, acknowledged the slow start and spoke about the team's resilient mental toughness.
“We didn’t play our best the first few innings,” Wong said. “We knew that if we wanted to win, we had to get it together and that’s what we did.”
Walks happened frequently for the Rattlers because the Aggies did the same thing in the next inning.
The Rattlers were not able to get any hits, but they were able to get 4 walks in the bottom of the fifth also bringing another player home evening the score at 3-3.
Weeks commented on how he was prepared to fulfill his relief role, and is pleased with the team's victory.
“I knew that I was coming in to relieve Paige so I just started warming up around the inning,” Weeks said. “Only thing on my mind was winning and pitching well… Overall, we had a pretty good team win. I was just excited that we were able to get the victory.”
The Rattlers stepped their pace up another notch and took the lead to 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh with zero errors, holding the Aggies to only three runs for the remainder of the game.
The Rattlers won the game 8-3, effectively sweeping North Carolina A&T.
The Rattlers will be back at Moore-Kittles Field, Tuesday, March 31st at 5 p.m. to matchup against Jacksonville University.