So close, yet so far away

Base-runner looks to advance bases
Courtesy FAMU Sports Info.

What started as a potential upset win for the Lady Rattlers, ended in victory for the Lady ‘Noles Tuesday.

Florida A&M University’s softball team (0-6) fell 12-5 at the hands of No. 5 Florida State University (4-1). But it wasn’t looking too pretty for the Seminoles at the beginning of this capital-city contest.

FAMU jumped out to a 5-2 lead through the first four innings, but it couldn’t keep it up or keep FSU off the board. The Lady Rattlers allowed 10 unanswered runs in the last three innings. 

Assistant Coach Lori Goodart said it’s early in the season, and this game provided a learning experience.

“We were very competitive with them and stayed in the game,” Goodart said. “But we’re also going to learn from the fact that we have to finish a game… If it had ended in the fourth, it would have been great, we would have had a 'W,' but we have to go through the full seven (innings).”

In the fifth inning, FSU took off and never looked back. And an error by FAMU’s second baseman did nothing but add to it. Two runners scored and another advanced to third before she scored on an RBI.

Freshman pitcher Veronica Burse said that error was the turning point in the game.

“Up until the fifth inning we (were) amazing,” Burse said. “But we let that one error get to us, and you could see it all over our faces… after that, we just kind of shut down.”

Burse said the team could make up for their errors simply by putting points on the board.

“We have to be more aggressive at the plate…and hit away our errors,” Burse said.

The bulk of FAMU’s points came in the second inning, where the Lady Rattlers scored three runs. They were initiated by an RBI from junior infielder Sierra McMillian which brought junior catcher Alexsis Sandage home.

Junior outfielder Naesha Lewis and senior infielder Alyssa Weaver added two more unearned runs to close out the second. FAMU’s final run came in a hitless fourth inning on an RBI by sophomore outfielder Whitney Farris that gave Weaver her second run.

Sophomore pitcher Kenya Pereira had another solid day on the mound despite earning her fourth loss of the season. She pitched for six innings, facing 37 batters and allowing seven hits, five earned runs and adding four strikeouts.  

But she's not concerned with her own success, her focus is on the team. And Pereira echoes the same words of her assistant coach:

“We got the beginning, we’re starting to get the middle, we just need to get the end,” Pereira said. “We come out strong…then we get complacent.” Pereira went on to say that when playing any school, especially, teams like FSU and Kentucky, there’s no room for complacency.

She believes that the team will pick it up and come together as the season progresses. However, she's concerned about the speed of the Lady Rattlers' improvement.

“I just hope we don’t wait too late…wait ‘til MEAC (play) to switch it on,” Pereira said. “I just want to see us change now.”

The Lady Rattlers will face the Lady Seminoles again on Feb. 25 at FSU. The Lady Rattlers will return home March 3 to take on Boston College.