Florida A&M University’s baseball team landed its very first bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament after defeating Bethune-Cookman University 8-2 in the MEAC championship game in Salisbury, Maryland.
This win gives them an automatic bid into the Regional Tournament. The Rattlers won their first MEAC Championship back in 1994.
Coach Jamey Shouppe is the first coach in 21 years to accomplish those feats. Shouppe expressed how elated he was that the team advanced to the tournament.
"We’re excited, the players are excited," Shouppe said. "With winning the conference championship it affords us with the opportunity to go to the regionals and that’s something that none of these kids have ever done.”
Brett Richardson, who has been coaching at FAMU for 18 years, expressed his happiness with the team’s accomplishment.
Richardson began coaching a few years after he swung his last bat as a Rattler in 1993; he became an assistant coach in 1997.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Richardson said.” The only thing we do as assistant coaches are try to make the ship stay on course and try to make sure that Coach Shouppe’s message gets across to the players.”
Marlon Gibbs, a senior sociology student from Orange Park, Florida is glad that the team is reaping the benefits of their hard work.
“This is everything we’ve been working for since the fall," Gibbs said. "I’m glad I can share it with my brothers.”
Gibbs was 2-for-3 and was amongst one of the players who recorded multiple hits in the game for FAMU. AJ Akins (2-for-4), Peter Jackson (2-for-4), and Michael Birdsong (2-for-5) were other players who had multi-hit performances.
Michael Birdsong, a senior pre-physical therapy student, is glad to be a MEAC champion, and is pleased with the progress since becoming a Rattler.
"It feels good to be a MEAC champion,” Birdsong said. “It feels good especially knowing where the program was a few years ago."
Birdsong scored a run and a RBI against the Wildcats in the MEAC Championship.
The Rattlers will face the University of Florida Gators for their first ever NCAA Regional appearance. The team will be hosting a watch-party with friends and family, on Monday at the FAMU Recreation Center where the NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be televised on ESPNU.
For more information and scheduling visit www.FAMUAthletics.com and all fans can also follow the teams twitter account (@FAMUAthletics) for frequent updates.