NORFOLK, Va. (FAMU ATHLETICS) — The Florida A&M baseball team opened the 2021 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament with hopes of running the table on the way to a second conference tournament championship since 2019.
However, much like how the 2019 championship run began, FAMU (21-33) dropped an early game in the tournament to the top seed in the MEAC Northern Division, Norfolk State, 8-3 on Thursday afternoon at Marty L. Miller Field.
With the loss, Florida A&M fell into the elimination bracket and will face Delaware State at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The Hornets fell to North Carolina Central in the tournament opener, 9-4. Norfolk State advanced in the winner's bracket to meet NCCU at noon.
The Rattlers only managed to pick up three hits on the afternoon, struggling to find consistency at the plate. In comparison, NSU (23-26) tallied 18 total hits.
FAMU opened the game by loading the bases after drawing walks in three of its first four at-bats. Seyjuan Lawrence hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, driving the first run of the game home to give the Rattlers an early 1-0 lead.
The Spartans, however, turned the tide of the ball game scoring all eight of their runs between the third and sixth innings.
Bryant provided hopes of a late comeback with a leadoff double to open the top of the sixth inning. He worked his way around third base after groundouts from the next two batters, eventually scoring on a passed ball to cut the Spartans lead to 7-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth.
FAMU picked up one more run in the bottom of the eighth when Bryant picked up an RBI, grounding out to the shortstop and scoring Moyer.
Kyle Coleman (2-5) got the start on the mound for the Rattlers, picking up the loss. He worked 3.1 innings, surrendering five runs on 10 hits.
Florida A&M falls into the elimination bracket to take on Delaware State at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
A win for the Rattlers would eliminate the Hornets from the tournament and FAMU would meet the loser of the North Carolina Central/Norfolk State game at 7 p.m. in another elimination contest.