Rattlers come up short in NCAA Regional to end season

Willis McDaniel had multiple hits for the Rattlers in their Regional elimination game.
Photo by FAMU athletics

Special to the Outlook

ATLANTA, Ga. – FAMU out hit the Chanticleers 13-11. It just wasn’t enough, though.

 The Rattlers (27-34)  fell Coastal Carolina (36-25-1) 9-4 in front of 1,947 at Russ Chandler Stadium. 

The Rattlers four runs scored and 13 hits were the most in program history in an NCAA Regional game. Just like game one of the Regional, FAMU was within three runs heading to the seventh inning, but a couple of late runs by the Chanticleers put the game out of reach.

The Rattlers’ offense was led by Seyjuan Lawrence and Brett Maxwell, who each had three hits on the day. Lawrence was 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Maxwell was 3-for-4 with an RBI.  Octavien Moyer (2-for-5, RBI), Tucker Rayburn (2-for-4, RBI) and Willis McDaniel (2-for-5, HR, 2 runs, RBI) each recorded multi-hit performances for FAMU.

FAMU starting pitcher Josh Hancock (5-6) took the loss after working 4.2 innings and allowing six runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

Coastal Carolina got on the board first with three runs in the top of the third inning. Cameron Pearcey doubled to left-center field, but a misplayed ball by McDaniel allowed Pearcey to advance to third base. Pearcey later scored on an RBI single from Cory Wood for the first run of the game. 

Wood later scored the second run of the inning, from third on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Skeels. Jake Wright, who had reached on a walk earlier in the inning, came home on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.

FAMU had an early scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third inning, but left runners at second and third base. Rob Robinson had singled up the middle with one out and Moyer followed with a single to left.

Rayburn advanced the runners with a groundout to first base, but a fly out to left field from Jared Weber ended the scoring threat for FAMU.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, McDaniel put the Rattlers on the board with his third home run of the season. This one cleared the fence in left center field and reduced the deficit 3-1.

The Chanticleers answered with three runs on two hits in the top of the fifth inning to make it 6-1. Wood led off with a walk and moved to second on a single from Kieton Rivers. Both runners advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Wright. 

With one out, a hit-by-pitch to Zach Biermann loaded the bases before a sacrifice fly to center field sent home Wood from third. After Parker Chavers drew a walk to re-load the bases, Jamie Grant came in to pitch for the Rattlers and immediately gave up an RBI single to Scott McKeon to score Rivers from third. The third run of the inning was scored on a bases loaded walk.

In the Coastal sixth inning, Jake Wright hit his 11th home run of the season off FAMU reliever Grant to push its lead to 7-1.

Florida A&M cut the lead to 7-4 with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. 

McDaniel led off the inning with a single to center and Lawrence followed with a single through the left side to place runners at first and second with no outs. After a pitching change by the Chanticleers, Kaycee Reese drew a walk that loaded the bases. Maxwell then brought home McDaniel with an RBI single that just dropped in down the right field line. 

With the bases still loaded and one out, Lawrence came home to score the second run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to right field by Robinson. Moyer followed with an RBI single, up the middle, to bring to plate Reese from second base in what proved to be the final run of the game for FAMU.

Coastal Carolina tacked on single runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Another home run, this time from Chavers in the seventh inning, his 15th of the season, pushed the lead to four runs at 8-4. Following in the eighth inning, a run-scoring single from Biermann plated Wood from second base for the last run of the game.

Coastal Carolina starter Nick Parker (2-1) earned the win after pitching a career long five innings with three runs on eight hits, two strikeouts and one walk.

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