Florida A and M Universities Mens Baseball team had a rough start to their three-game series against Bethune Cookman University losing 4-1 at Moore-Kittles field on Friday.
The game was determined early, the Wildcats scored two quick runs in the top of the third inning for a 2-0 lead.
Head coach Jamey Shouppe was not pleased with the teams effort, and believes the game got out of hand early.
“I don’t think we came out ready to play,” Shouppe said. “The game was decided early. BCU scored two runs in the third. The one they got late was on an error, but that’s going to happen.”
The Wildcats added another run in the top of the fourth inning to increase its’ lead to 3-0. Starting pitcher, Chase Jarrell allowed the Wildcats to score three of their runs on eight hits in the first four innings before he was taken out.
Alex Carrasco came in to pitch 5 scoreless innings of relief with three hits, one strikeout and three walks. Carrasco and the Rattlers held the Wildcats to just one earned run on three hits over the final 5 innings.
The Rattlers had a huge play with Carrasco on the mound that helped the team pick up their confidence. Carrasco forced a hitter to ground into a fielder’s choice on the very first pitch and strand the bases full.
“I fell behind with some hitters by walking a player,” Carrasco said. “The next batter that came up hit a ground ball to me and I was able to turn two and get out of the inning. That was a huge play. It got the momentum going a little bit.”
The Rattlers were able to get on the board after Michael Birdsong’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning, while going 1-for-4 on the day.
AJ Elkins singled to right with one out and later Ryan Kennedy was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with two outs. Birdsong then roped an RBI single into right field to bring home Elkins from second and recording the only run of the day for the Rattlers.
Birdsong believes the outcome may have been different had the team not started the game with lethargic play.
“We just had a few plays that did not go our way,” Birdsong said. “We came out kind of flat the first few innings but once we starting kicking in, it was already late.”
The Rattlers loaded the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. AJ Elkins hit a hard ball deep to the wall in left center with two outs, for what would have been a walk-off grand slam that was caught as the Rattlers fell 4-1.
Coach Shouppe was proud of how the team fought despite being down early.
“It is very disheartening because we spent all week talking about being ready, playing with passion and desire,” Shouppe said. “We did come back, fight, and give ourselves a chance to win [late]. Who knows we could’ve been celebrating right now.”