canada africa partner reservation Rattlers hitters try to respond to the coach’s challenge

Rattlers hitters try to respond to the coach’s challenge


Florida A&M baseball has one of the best scoring staffs in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and statistical categories in the country. But after last weekend’s misery, the Rattlers seem to be coming back.


Good offense and quality hitting has become an important part of Florida A&M baseball.

But even normally hot bats sometimes need to be reheated.

Last weekend, after being outhit 33-20 and outscored 14-10 in FAMU’s Southwestern Athletic Conference series loss to Bethune-Cookman, Rattlers head coach Jamey Shouppe called his hitters for a better performance.

Despite having one of the best statistical lineups in the SWAC, Shouppe explained that his team missed a lot of opportunities.

Shouppe’s challenge against the Rattlers (23-23, 18-6 SWAC) living up to their No. 1 SWAC East ranking is something that resonates with the team’s sluggers as they compete in their weekend SWAC series at Alabama State (25- 22, 15-9 SWAC ). It will be FAMU’s penultimate series before defending their SWAC Tournament Championship beginning May 22.

“We’ve had a tough weekend, but we’re trying to continue the momentum we’ve had all season,” said FAMU hitter and outfielder Janmikell Bastardo, who leads the team with 41 runs and six triples. “We always approach challenges with open arms. That will help us be a better team and give us something to work hard for.

“Coach Shouppe told us the other day that we are in first place; now is the time to act on it. I think we are doing well.”

FAMU has lost just two of its eight SWAC series, both to Bethune-Cookman.

Now the Rattlers are looking to get back to their winning ways at Alabama State. FAMU and Alabama State last met in April when the Rattlers won the three-game series in Tallahassee.

Finishing the weekend as the series winner is imperative for FAMU to maintain its lead in SWAC East, with Bethune-Cookman one game behind and Alabama State trailing by three.

“This is a big weekend for us to get our momentum going for the SWAC tournament,” said FAMU utility player Adam Haidermota, who leads the Rattlers in batting average, hits and doubles. “We want to be as prepared as possible because once we get there, we are dangerous.”

Hitting woes and Shouppe’s challenge last weekend could lead to a redemptive performance from the Rattlers’ batting lineup.

There could be an increase in points scored when FAMU rolls into Montgomery this weekend.

“You’re not going to win many college baseball games if you don’t score five to seven runs a game,” Shouppe said. “That should be our goal offensively.”

FAMU baseball has one of the best hitting lineups in the SWAC and NCAA Division I

Opposing pitchers must bring their A-game when facing FAMU’s hitters.

Forty-six games into the regular season, the Rattlers have one of the top offenses in the SWAC and the country.

In the SWAC, FAMU ranks in the top five in batting average, RBI, runs, hits, home runs and slugging percentage. Nationally, the Rattlers rank No. 8 in triples and rank in the top 100 with a .291 batting average.

“Coming into the season, we all made it a goal to either lead the SWAC or be in the top 50 in the country on average,” said first-year FAMU hitting coach Tucker Rayburn, an All-American selection. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and champion for the Rattlers during his 2019-2021 playing days.

“We started slowly, but the boys fought through adversity and understood the goal. It brings them back and I’m proud of what they do.”

Bastardo is a power hitter who leads the Rattlers with 41 runs and six triples. He and Haidermota have each hit five home runs this season.

“It’s just the result of the hard work we put in every day,” Bastardo said. “We get here an hour before practice to do our T-work and drill work to make sure we’re prepared for the game.

“We have great team chemistry and are not afraid to sacrifice ourselves to get a run-in. That goes a long way and will prepare us for the SWAC tournament.”

Haidermota has spent his entire college career with the Rattlers and joined the team in 2021.

In his final college baseball season, Haidermota is one of FAMU’s most reliable hitters at the plate.

The graduate student leads FAMU with a .340 batting average, 54 hits and 13 doubles.

He hopes his breakout season continues into FAMU’s final two weeks of the regular season and the impending 2024 SWAC Tournament.

“Living here for four years, I’ve gotten used to how things work here, what our program is like and what it takes to get involved and be a part of it,” Haidermota said.

“All the experiences I’ve had have made me better every year. I just put in as much as I can and trust my preparation. I’ve had a lot of success this year and am just trying to finish strong and win a SWAC championship.

Florida A&M at the Alabama State SWAC Baseball Series

This weekend’s program

Friday, May 10: 7:00 PM – Eastern Time

Saturday, May 11: 7:00 PM – Eastern Time

Sunday, May 12: 2:00 PM – Eastern Time

Hornet Sports Network will stream games played on Alabama State’s campus in Montgomery.

Gerald Thomas, III covers Florida A&M University Athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at [email protected] or via the app formerly known as Twitter @3peatgee.

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