Wednesday HBCU Baseball Matchup Pits No. 1 Alabama State Against No. 2 Florida A&M

Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex, home to Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Black College Nines No. 1 ranked Alabama State University, will host a one game event on Wednesday March 16th at 4:00 PM against BCN’s No. 2 Florida A&M. Come game time the only thing missing might be a ticket into the game. They way these teams have played so far, from a fan’s perspective it’s too bad this wasn’t scheduled for a three game series… but, who knew.

Top-ranked No. 1 Alabama State has been dominating lately after starting the season 0 and 4. The Hornets (10-7) have won 10 of their last 13 games, winning the last three-game series they’ve played against Winthrop, swept Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) rivals Jackson State University, split a two-game series with Bowling Green, before winning three of four against Northern Kentucky.

Alabama State has been winning of late with pitching, holding their opponents to a mere 3.83 earned run average per game. And it’s not just been from the weekend and mid-week starters. A trio of middle relievers have shut the door on opposing batters. Angel Alicea (0.00), Ivanniel Vazquez (0.00) Brandon Caples 1-0 (4.05), Austin Bizzle 1-1 and Darren Kelly 1-0 (4.35) have been leading the relief efforts. Starters Tyler Howe 2-2 (2.28), Hunter McIntosh 1-1 and ace of the staff Joseph Camacho 2-0, (1.29) with 27 strikeouts have led the Hornets to 10 wins.

At the plate, red-hot outfielder Carlos Ocasio hit .522 in six games last week, including six extra-base hits (three doubles and three home runs) with eight runs scored and nine RBI. He has at least one hit each game, including five multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games. Ocasio is ranked 18th in NCAA Division I in home runs, and has reached base in all 17 games this season He is hitting .359 with five homers and 19 RBI. Infielder Eriq White hit .429 last week (9-21), including two extra base hits with four runs scored and nine RBI. White had, at least, one hit in every game last week. His stats include a .333 batting average, one home run and 13 runs batted in. Catcher Chris Biocic hit .409 last week with five runs scored and five runs batted in and a current five-game hitting streak.

In the other dugout, Florida A&M is loaded with eight of its starters batting above .300. Offense is a good reason that Florida A&M (11-5) has the best 16-game start to a season in quite some time. FAMU is currently on an eight-game winnings streak with wins against Mercer, Western Michigan, Toledo and Bethune-Cookman. It is the Rattlers longest winning streak since the 2000 season. Heading into the game against Alabama State, FAMU ranks 5th nationally in runs, tied for eighth in hits, eighteenth in team batting average and tied for eighteenth in doubles.

Florida A&M has a team batting average to .330 and had 18 hits in a recent 15-3 win over conference rival Bethune-Cookman. Dylan Dillard has been on-fire since the start of the season. He’s belted three home runs, including a multi-home run game against Toledo, with two doubles and had 10 RBIs. He also had two, four RBI games. Dillard has a 1.133 slugging percentage while batting .400. Sophomore Brian Davis had a three-run home run, double and five RBI, while hitting .500 (6-12) with five runs scored in a week span. Senior outfielder, Peter Jackson hit .417 this past week with three runs scored, two walks and four RBI. Jackson hit his first career home run which was a game winning walk-off hit last weekend vs. Western Michigan, then connected for a two-run home run in a 2-1 win against Bethune-Cookman this past weekend.

On the mound, Florida A&M has a very talented pitching rotation. From all indications, last season’s humbling NCAA playoff experience is driving the staff. Hunter Fillingim is 1-0 with two saves (2.00 ERA), Ricky Page is 1-0 (2.30 ERA), Sawyer Betts is 2-0 (3.29 ERA), Danny Rodriguez is 2-0 (4.50 ERA), Chase Jarrell is 2-1 and Jojo Durden is 1-0. The staff combined for a 1.85 ERA in the four games this past week, while allowing just seven earned runs over the four games. FAMU pitching only allowed four earned runs, seven total, in its series against a ranked Bethune-Cookman team.

No. 1 Alabama State University versus No. 2 Florida A&M University… who has the edge? One thing is certain. This one will have a ton of talent on the field.

 

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