Defensive Struggles Cost Rattlers Series against Tigers

Defensive struggles plagued the Rattlers baseball team Saturday and Sunday, as it lost the three-game series against Savannah State at Moore-Kittles Baseball Complex.

The Tigers defeated the Rattlers 9-2 during game one on Saturday, but the Rattlers rebounded with a 10-1 victory later that day to tie the series. SSU tamed FAMU 12-6 during game three on Sunday to win the series.

The series brought FAMU to a 4-17 record overall and a 3-2 record in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Tigers move to 8-12 on the season and 2-1 in the MEAC.

The Rattlers’ wild pitching and defense were a problem, as they gave up six errors during the series. The mistakes prolonged the Tigers at bat and led to unearned runs.

The Rattlers dug themselves into a 6-2 hole early in game one following a string of errors. The Tigers held on to its lead to seal the victory.

Both FAMU and SSU finished the game with six hits. Daniel Lee produced a team-leading two hits for the Rattlers, while Chris Arnold earned two hits to lead the Tigers.

Kyle McGowin picked up the win for the Tigers. He allowed five hits, two earned runs and eight strikeouts during the eight innings he pitched. David Duncan received the loss for FAMU. He gave up three hits and one earned run.

During game two, FAMU’s Heath Blackburn rode a no-hitter until the fifth inning when he gave up the Tigers’ only four singles of the game.
“I felt great in that game,” Blackburn said. “I went out there and hit my spots. It really helps out a lot when a pitcher has run support backing them up.”

Dylan West hit a grand slam to claim game two for the Rattlers.

“The hit came at a good time,” West said. “Hitting hasn’t been an issue for us this year; we’ve been able to hit with everyone. It’s all about run producing, and that’s a work in progress.”

The Rattlers fell behind early during the final game and were unable to enter an offensive rhythm despite changes in the batting lineup. The Rattlers finished the game with nine hits, and nine different players finished with one hit.

“I made substitutions,” said head coach Willie Brown. “I played guys who wanted to play and who were hungry. I watched practices, body languages and effort. I go with my gut on the players.”

The Rattlers left 14 men on base during the series – nine all together during their losses. The Rattlers showed improvement during game two as they left no men on base.

The Rattlers will return to action today against Mercer in Macon, Ga. FAMU will return home Saturday to take on Jackson State at the Moore-Kittles Baseball Complex.