FAMU softball team continues run at MEAC title

A combination of timely hitting and experienced pitching helped Florida A&M put pressure on their competition during their road at the University of South Florida Tournament.In the game against Towson State University, Florida A&M scored first off of a home run from senior Melissa Olipahnt that gave the Rattlers the 1-0 lead in the first inning of the game.The momentum would shift in Florida A&M’s favor during the third inning, where sophomore Jasmin Donaldson bunted using her speed to steal second off of an error throw by Towson State eventually advancing to third base.Sophomore Tenisha Dixson came in and hit a single that would lead to Donaldson scoring.Sophomore Arianna Stewart reached on a fielder’s choice RBI that would drive in a run from Dixson on a bases loaded situation. Oliphant scored after Towson walked aFlorida A&M player, then four more runs would come from throwing errors by the Towson second base and centerfield players.Towson was only able to muster up three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings on home runs, but the big rally by Florida A&M in the third inning would seal the game giving Florida A&M the 7-2 victory.Florida A&M senior Melissa Oliphant said scoring the game’s first run played an important role in how Florida A&M was able to gain the advantage over Towson throughout the game.“Most important was jumping out in the first inning scoring first, that’s what gave us the momentum and the confidence and from their each inning we wanted to score at least one or two runs,”said Oliphant. “Our main objective was to score first and we wanted to takeadvantage of them playing earlier in the day and get them down as soon as possible. We got our runs when we needed them and that was the key to that win.”In Florida A&M’s second game of the day against the University of North Florida, the third inning was once again the point in the game where the Florida A&M bats were able to produce multiple hits. Senior Joyce Harold took advantage of an error by the North Floridasecond base player.Sophomore Donaldson singled to right field that was followed by a walked RBI by Oliphant. She scored a run for senior Joyce Harold who previously stole third base.Freshman Corin Gordon hit an RBI single that scored more two more runs for Florida A&M and helped them to grab a 3-2 win over North Florida, a team they had previously played three times.Senior Amanda Reyes said the familiarity with North Florida allowed the Florida A&M pitchers and hitters to learn some of the teams tendencies and strategies they used.“In the same way we play teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference three times, it’s kind of the same with other teams,” said Reyes. “It’s a matter of going out there with your ‘A’ game, even though you know your opponents in the game of softball you never really no what type of game a team will have.”Florida A&M lost tough games against Texas Tech University and USF where Florida A&M got behind in the early and were never able to recover. Texas Tech had a total of 12 hits and seven RBI’s in a 7-2 win over Florida A&M where they were only able to produce four hits and an RBI. In the loss 13-5 loss versus USF, Florida A&M gave up a total of three home runs and 12 RBI’s in a game where the Rattlers could never gain enough momentum to try and rally.Senior Reyes said that games against the nonconference teams have brought out qualities that the team can definitely look to improve.“Our weakness against these teams was our ability to not finish out a complete game. We need to get better playing the two games a day,” said Reyes. “Just being as sharp as we were in one game and bringing that same energy and enthusiasm into the second game, or vice versa.”The Florida A&M Rattlers will open the next road game in Savannah, Ga., in hopes of improving on their current 12-13 record.