Rattlers late offensive strike not enough as they fall in home opener, 5-3

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By: Kevin Keane, Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
February 19, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida A&M had just three hits on the afternoon but were able to calm the bats of the #19 Missouri Tigers and mounted a late-game surge but fell short, 5-3, in their home opener of the 2019 season.

Trailing 5-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Robert Robinson, Jakob Wiirre and Jelani Wheeler all drew one-out walks to set the table for Willis McDaniel.

Although McDaniel struck out swinging, a wild pitch from Konnor Ash allowed Robinson to score and everyone else to advance 90 feet, putting the Rattlers' first run on the board and cutting into the deficit at 5-1.

The next batter, Jared Weber, got hit to reload the bases to set the table for a two-run single form Octavien Moyer to score Wiirre and Wheeler, pulling FAMU within two runs of Mizzou at 5-3.

Ash was pulled following the two-run single, just the third hit of the game for the Rattlers, and Trey Dillard was put in the game, who immediately walked Kaycee Reese to load the bases for the third time in the inning but struck out William Brooks to end the game and seal the Mizzou victory.

FAMU sent nine batters to the plate in the final frame.

Missouri looked set for a big afternoon, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning on back-to-back RBI singles from Austin James and Luke Mann to score Alex Peterson, who led the game off with a single and Misner, who singled with one out, to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

After that point, FAMU starter Josh Barr settled down, retiring seven of the next nine batters he faced and 11 of the next 16.

Barr logged six full innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, two walks and struck out six.

Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, FAMU had an opportunity to put runs on the board when the Brett Maxwell, Ryan Coscarella and Seyjuan Lawrence worked consecutive walks against Mizzou relievers Seth Halvorsen and Lukas Veinbergs to load the bases with no out, but the next three batters struck out to kill the rally and end the inning.

The Tigers took advantage of the missed opportunity and added an insurance run to make it 3-0 in the top of the eighth on an RBI single from Cameron Swanger who plated Kameron Minser, who drew a one-out walk to set the table.

Mizzou added two more runs in the ninth on consecutive RBI hits from Clayton Peterson, to score Josh Holt who stroked a one-out double, and a Chris Cornelius two-out double that plated Peterson to make for a 5-0 Tigers advantage.

FAMU mustered just three hits offensively; a Brad Hession single in the second, a Kaycee Reese double in the fourth and Moyer's two-run single in then ninth, but did draw ten total walks and two hit batters, leaving a combined 13 runners on base.

Mizzou starter Tommy Springer, making his collegiate debut, logged three innings of work, striking out four and allowing just two base runners; one hit and one walk.

The Rattlers are back in action on Wednesday when they welcome the Mercer Bears to Moor-Kittles Field before a four-game weekend series against Alcorn State.

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