Rattlers hope to end season victorious

As the end of the regular season draws closer, Florida A&M’s baseball team find themselves under .500, and are looking for a spark.

The Rattlers are fifth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings with a 5-6 record.

They also find themselves looking up at conference rivals Bethune-Cookman University (11-1) and Delaware State University (8-4), who currently have the two best records in the conference.

Although the Rattlers trail Bethune-Cookman and Delaware State in the standings, FAMU sits on top of one important category.

The Rattlers lead the conference with a .333 team batting average, and are tied for fourth with 20 home runs with Delaware State.

Jared Jefferies and Tim Schalch who are in the top six for individual batting averages in the conference lead the offense.

Jefferies, 21, a junior infielder from Decatur, Ga., sits second in the conference with a .438 batting average, and has 15 runs batted in, which he has played 27 of the 35 games so far this season.

Jefferies has yet to put one out the yard, but he does have a total of 11 extra base hits, which are hits that allow the batter to reach beyond first base.

Schalch, a senior shortstop from Sarasota, is sixth in the conference with a .379 batting average, and has 44 hits on the season.

He also has 13 runs batted in, and an on-base percentage of .405.

Jefferies and Schalch may have two of the best batting averages in the conference, but they have less than one home run between them.

Darryl Evans and Tim Jones lead the power in the line-up. Evans, a junior outfielder from Merrillville, Ind., leads the team with five home runs, and is fourth in the conference with 77 total bases on the year.

“I feel our season went well and we started off having pitching problems but we are finishing strong,” said Evans, 21, a pre-physical education student from Merrillville, Ind.

Evans also brings speed to a line-up that is no stranger to swiping bases.

He leads the team in stolen bases with 19, which helps the rattlers who lead the conference in that category with 86 stolen bases.    

Bethune-Cookman is in second with 67 stolen bases as a team, which 19 less than the Rattlers.

Evans said one of his main goals was to play hard and win lots of games.

“My main goal was to do well in all the games, I like to set examples for the younger players,” Evans said.

The area in question for the Rattlers all season has been the pitching and the depth of the pitching staff.

The Rattlers are fourth in the conference in earned run averages at 7.16 in 271.2 total innings pitched.

The three pitchers that have led the baseball team in innings are Miguel Parga, Anthony Espin and David Duncan.

Parga leads the team with a 4.48 earned run average and has four wins and four losses on the season.

The Rattlers head to Baltimore this weekend to take on the Eagles of Coppin State University, who are winless on the season with a 0-23 overall record and 0-12 in the conference.

After that trip the team has a seven game home stand that will begin April 28 against Mercer. 

“Our next main goal is winning the MEAC tournament and go to regional,” Evans said.