The Florida A&M Rattlers took on the Alcorn State Braves, in the first of a four-game weekend series.
The Braves got the action started early hanging a crooked five runs in the second inning, following a flurry of walks, capped off by a bases-clearing double off the bat of Hunter Wilson.
The Rattlers were battling back in the bottom of the fifth as transfer junior Brett Maxwell started things off with a leadoff walk. Two batters were retired before Dallas Oliver was able to work a two-out walk, and Brian Davis followed that with a 2 RBI single to right field, he was able to advance to second on an error. That error proved to be costly as Jacky Miles Jr. came through with another two-out hit to score Brian Davis and cut the Braves lead to 6-3.
Deven Shulstad came in in the sixth to relieve Ryan Anderson but he struggled to find the zone walking two batters, and surrendering two earned runs before being taken out after recording just one out.
Rattlers head coach Jamey Shouppe decided to shake things up in the sixth inning by pinch-hitting speedster Malachi Mitchell. Mitchell got the sixth inning started with a bunt single before Jordan Curtis launched one off the right-center wall for an RBI triple and Dallas Oliver continued his perfect night with his third hit to score another run.
That is as close as the Rattlers would get never really posing another scoring threat, and they would fall to the Braves by a score of 8-5.
Rattler's ace Ryan Anderson continued to struggle early in the season as he gave up six hits, six runs, and six walks in just five innings of work.
“We just have to get our pitchers to pound the strike zone and let the defense behind them make plays,” said Rattlers pitching coach Bryan Henry.
Jamie Grant continued to be a bright spot for the Rattlers pitching staff going three and two-thirds of an inning giving up three hits, zero runs, one walk, and three strikeouts.
“Jamie started this way last year, he had a great first quarter of the season, then things went south when we really needed him in conference,” said Coach Shouppe.
“So, the challenge for him is to really be able to sustain what he has done the last couple of outings, and what he did at the beginning of last year.”
Grant mirrored coaches comments.
“My arm is feeling great to start the season,” said Grant. “I’ll continue to condition, and work on controlling my pitches to make sure I’m available and at my best when MEAC play comes around.”
The weekend series continues Saturday with a doubleheader. The first game will be a 1 p.m. nine-inning game; the second game will take place 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, and will be a seven-inning affair.
Josh Wilson will take the mound for the Rattlers in the first game, and Shouppe has said he is not sure who will start the second game.