Softball team back on track

 The Lady Rattler softball team looks like it understands the meaning of winning again after its 9-5 victory  over  the  University of Maine Lady Black Bears Tuesday night at the Lady Rattler Complex.

  It was an even sweeter win for the Lady Rattlers who recently took a loss to the Lady Black Bears at the Florida State University tournament last week.

  A FAMU win came fairly easy for the Lady Rattlers who have struggled to get back to winning form.

  “It’s a well-deserved win,” said freshman infielder Turelle Farmer who went 2 for 3 behind the plate. “We’ve gotten to the point where we were ready to play, and that’s just what we did.”

  It was far from a close one for the Rattlers who left the Lady Black Bears trailing behind the entire game.

In the bottom of the first, the Lady Rattlers got their first run on a RBI single by sophomore Rhianna Green that helped score senior Shalina Taylor. They continued to put points on the board after FAMU brought home three runs in a row thanks to hits by Taylor, junior Alacia Strafford and freshman Melissa Oliphant in the bottom of the third.

The Rattlers held a 4-1 lead heading into the fourth.

 Head coach Veronica Wiggins said FAMU went down to the Lady Black Bears in the FSU tournament, which they were playing for third and fourth place, but could not pull home the win due to errors. She mentioned that Tuesday’s win adds to the boost that is getting them back on track.

 “Victory could not have been sweeter,” Wiggins said of the Lady Rattlers’ revenge win. 

“This is just what we needed,” she said. “We’re a young team, and we make young mistakes, but not enough to hurt us.”

The Rattlers took advantage of Maine pitcher Cayleigh Montano, who gave away her second walk at the bottom of the fourth, and the Lady Rattlers got two more runs off the right hander giving themselves a 6-1 lead after four innings of play.

Maine head coach Stacey Sullivan explained that her team was weary due to the 20-game series they’re currently playing in, which they only have four more to close.

“We were flat today,” Sullivan said. “Coming from a day off and in the middle of a 20-game series, I think the Rattlers took advantage of the fact that we are a little flat.”

 The Lady Black Bears’ competitiveness was simply not enough to match up with the Rattlers aggressiveness.

  In the top of fifth with one out and the Lady Rattlers still holding a 9-2 lead, starting pitcher Ashley Jones began to struggle after four strong innings. The Lady Black Bears manage to put up three more runs on the board with utility player Kelly White bringing home the Black Bears’ fourth run across the plate, shrinking the Rattler lead to 9-5.

 Jones’ struggle continued during the top of the sixth, giving up two doubles to Tara Vilardo and Whitney Spangler. Junior Alicia Mitchell replaced Jones at the top of the sixth.

“Mitchell saved me,” Jones said.  “I know I could have had a better performance, but Mitchell came in and closed out the game well.”

 Wiggins added to Mitchell’s performance, stating in short, “she did her thing.”

 Wiggins also mentioned that she rested Jones during mid-game to change the momentum.

 FAMU was aggressive on the base pad stealing five bases throughout the game.

After Maine scored a run in the sixth, the Lady Black Bears still were unable to cut into FAMU’s lead.

In the top of the seventh inning, center fielder Green made an impressive catch over the top of her shoulder giving the Lady Rattlers their first out.

The Lady Black Bears’ Kate Joseph gave Maine its last chance on a infield hit, but Maine failed to bring in a run after Marguerite Soule popped out to end the game.

The Lady Rattlers finished out the game with a 9-6 win.  They will take on University of Southern Mississippi at 3 p.m. Wednesday in a double header.