Rattlers fall to Bears despite great defense

First baseman Brad Hession warming up the infield  
Photo Submitted by Sterling Bright

At Moore-Kittles Field, the Florida A&M Rattlers and the Mercer Bears battled it out until the bottom of the 9th in a roller coaster of a game. In the end, the Rattlers were unable to pick up their first win of the season as they fell 7-6.

In the beginning this game was all offense by Mercer, the Bears cruised to an early 3-1 lead. In the top of the 1st inning, Mercer jumped out to a 1-0 lead through a sacrifice fly, but in the top of the 2nd, Mercer showed their power instead of their strategy. Designated hitter, Leyton Pinckney hit a rocket into left for a two-run HR, to bring the Bears lead to 3-1. At this point, the Rattlers were in a hole trying to slither their way out, and it was their defense that brought them back into the game.

“Our problem was offensive execution, and we had guys in scoring position and we hit defensively. We gotta put the bat on the ball,” said head coach Jamey Shouppe.

First baseman Brad Hession was able to shift the momentum heading into the bottom of the 2nd. Hession made a great diving catch and throw to first for a highlight double play to end the inning.  With the momentum shifted it was shortstop Ryan Coscarella with a single to left that brought in senior catcher Brett Maxwell.

Coach Shouppe mentioned in the preseason that, “Our defense is anchored by returning seniors. Our Catcher in Brett Maxwell, Our outfield will be anchored by our CF Willis McDaniel and our infield is gonna anchored by our 3B Kaycee Reese.”

Reece entered into Wednesday's contest with a .286 avg and a .429 SLG. Reece had two hits and a clutch single in the bottom of the 5th to bring in RF Jared Webber. Despite clutch hitting, Reece still had two strikeouts late in the ballgame.

“We missed a lot of opportunities. I gotta work on my two-strike hitting, and the plan is to keep working and progressing,” said Reece.

The game was intense and scoreless for three innings after Reece’s RBI. The game was at a defensive standstill and including three pitching changes per team all totaling to only 1 inning pitched.

It would be at the bottom of the 7th that things got interesting. A single by Seyjuan Lawrence with the bases loaded lead to an out at home, but a wild through from Mercer catcher Collin Price to first brought in a run to tie up the game at seven. However, a controversial call at the plate called the runner out and helped the bears keep their 7-6 lead over the Rattlers.

Despite losing this game FAMU is still confident and excited about the upcoming season.

I feel we’ve prepared and worked hard all season and we’ve shown huge strides. I'm excited to see what happens,” said CF Willis McDaniel.

The Rattlers have their first four-game series of the season against Alcorn State starting Friday at 5 p.m. on Moore-Kittles Field. Despite the Rattlers being 0-6 and last, in the Southern Division it is still too early to count out FAMU for a MEAC Championship.