Rattlers start strong, but lose second game against Mercer Bears

The Rattlers baseball team split its two-game home series with the Mercer Bears on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Rattlers (4-38, 3-15 MEAC ) defeated the Bears (33-12, 12-6 Atlantic Sun Conference) 11-5 on Tuesday but fell 6-7 in the rematch.

Going into Tuesday’s contest, Mercer was ranked No.1 in College Baseball Daily’s Top-25 Mid-Major polls. The Rattlers, however, were able to take an early lead

Interim head coach Kelvin Clethen was pleased with his team’s play, praising them for competing and having fun.

“When we give ourselves a chance, we have more fun, put RBIs up, more hits and we have no errors in the game,” Clethen said.

Marlon Gibbs, a freshman left fielder from Orange Park, Fla., with a .381 batting average, had three hits in the victory.

“I just go out there and hit,” Gibbs said. “When I’m up there, I just think about hitting and getting on base.”

The Rattlers started Wednesday’s game off slowly as the Bears led by four runs going into the fifth.

Behind the bats of Gibbs and sophomore outfielder Kelvin Singletary from Madison,  Fla., the Rattlers were able to take the lead.

Jared Walker, a junior center fielder from Tallahassee, scored on a fielder’s choice in the seventh inning after Singletary was able to drive in three runners off of a homerun to left center field.

“I was looking for a pitch up in the zone, and I wanted to drive it,” Singletary said. “I got my curve ball, and I hit it. That’s my first collegiate home run, and I knew I could hit it.”

But the Bears responded with a single to left center that drove in one runner to tie the game at six apiece in the top of the eighth. In the ninth, Mercer mustered up the final run to take the win.

The Rattlers will resume conference play this weekend with a three-game series against the North Carolina Central University Eagles at Moore-Kittles Field.