FAMU Travels to NCAT with Tournament Bid on the Line

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The last conference series of the season has developed into the most important one for Florida A&M. The Rattlers (24-23, 12-9 MEAC) travel to War Memorial Stadium in Greensboro, NC to play North Carolina A&T (25-21, 14-7 MEAC) for a three-game set with their postseason chances still hanging in the balance.

The series will begin with a doubleheader on Friday at 12:00 PM and will conclude with a single game on Saturday at 1:00 PM.

The Rattlers control their own destiny and can clinch a spot in the upcoming MEAC Tournament with two wins. However, if FAMU only wins one game this weekend they would need Bethune-Cookman to beat North Carolina Central in a makeup game in order to make the postseason.

The MEAC’s Southern Division race is so tight that despite being on the cusp of not making the Conference Tournament, Florida A&M could still potentially earn the No. 1 seed. If the Rattlers sweep the Aggies this weekend, and Savannah State wins one or more games against Bethune-Cookman, then FAMU could claim another Southern Division title and earn an advantageous first-round bye in the Conference Tournament.

North Carolina A&T enters the weekend sitting in first place in the Southern Division and needs two wins against FAMU to clinch the Division title. The Aggies are 5-5 in their last 10 games, but are currently riding a four-game winning streak and are coming off a series sweep over Savannah State, while the Rattlers dropped a home series with North Carolina Central.

In the clubs’ first meeting in 2017 North Carolina A&T took two out of three games from Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Fla., however Jamey Shouppe still owns a 17-4 record against the divisional foe.

Florida A&M will send Ryan Anderson (3-2, 3.39 ERA) and Aubrey McCarty (5-4, 4.52 ERA) to the mound on Friday, and have not yet determined their starter for Saturday’s regular season finale. NCAT will feature a rotation of Michael Johnson (4-3, 5.34 ERA), Kaeson Wilson (4-6, 7.05 ERA), and Marcello Betances (5-3, 4.84 ERA).

Dallas Oliver has been the spark for the Rattlers offense down the stretch and carries a 15-game hitting streak into the series. The Rattlers will depend on Oliver along with power left-handed hitters Aubrey McCarty and Brian Davis. Both McCarty and Davis have struggled as of late, but are key components to the Florida A&M offense and will be critical in helping the Rattlers clinch their fourth straight MEAC Tournament berth under Shouppe.