The Rattlers baseball team fell to the Brown Bears in the finale of a four game series by a score of 7-0.
The Rattlers lost the series three games to one, with the final game by and being the most frustrating according to Coach Jamey Shouppe.
The Rattlers were hanging tough until a very ugly seventh inning, which saw four errors lead to five unearned runs which put the game out of reach for the Rattlers at 7-0.
After the game, Coach Shouppe was very displeased with his teams’ defensive effort.
“Obviously you can’t win ball games committing five errors, and dropping two balls in the outfield. In that seventh inning I think Jamie had to get six outs, in that seventh inning, just unacceptable,” he said.
Another area the Rattlers struggled with in this one was swinging the bats. The Rattlers were able to muster up just five hits in the game, two of them coming in the ninth inning when the game was effectively out of reach.
This offensive struggle in this series comes as a surprise, as the Rattlers have been hitting very well against out of conference opponents, an area MEAC teams usually struggle. Coming into this series the Rattlers were second in the MEAC in hitting with a team average well above .300 and averaging just about eight runs per game. But after a tough weekend swinging the bats, the team average dropped to .283, and they were able to score just eight runs in the entire four game series, including being shut out in the series finale.
The pitching staff however, was great this weekend. All four starters in the series were able to work into the fifth, with none allowed more than three earned runs, and just nine earned runs being allowed through the entire series for the staff.
One highlight to take from this error filled game by the Rattlers, was the continued success of Dallas Oliver. Oliver, who is returning from Tommy John surgery two years ago, continues to get better and better.
Dallas pitching well is something Shouppe has come to expect from his Senior right hander.
“This is what we are beginning to expect from Dallas, he is someone we knew could be a two way player, but we wanted to ease him back into with the surgery,” said Shouppe. “But he is becoming a very reliable Sunday starter, we just have to figure out what to do with the outfield when he is pitching.”
Oliver has said he feels very comfortable being back on the mound.
“I feel how I do every other day, I just go out there when I’m called on, and throw strikes,” said Oliver.
The Rattlers will have two mid-week games against the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles. These matchups will serve as the final tune up before the Rattlers begin MEAC play next weekend against archrival Bethune-Cookman.
When asked how he will treat these mid-week games, Shouppe said “we will obviously settle into a lineup before Saturday, but we just have to make some minor adjustments and I think we will be ready.”
Shouppe has not yet committed to a starting pitcher for the games this week, but expect no pitcher to throw more than 2-3 innings, as it’s safe to assume the Rattlers want to have their entire staff available for the big weekend series.
The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles are coming into this week’s matchup with a record of 8-2 following a series win over the Bethune Cookman Wildcats in Daytona Beach.
First pitched is currently scheduled for Tuesday March 6, at 4 pm at Moore-Kittles Field.