Week three of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) baseball season is now in the books. So, let’s take another look at which teams are making some chatter so far during the 2016 season and which teams are off to a slow start.
Florida A&M University opened its 2016 season (2-1) this past weekend scoring 29 runs while Rattler pitching held the Marshall Thundering Herd to just 8 runs in the first two games, winning game one 9-4, then pounding Marshall 20-4 in the second game. FAMU went for the sweep, but fell just short losing 11-9 in 11 innings. Florida A&M big hitters bought the lumber to the plate as freshman Willis McDaniel connected for two home runs and five rbi while Ben Ellzey (3 for 4) had two RBI. On the mound, starters Sawyer Betts and JUCO transfer JoJo Durden picked up wins versus Marshall. They will need pitching and hitting again to step up with a big non-conference mid-week games against Jacksonville University and Auburn University, then a big non-conference weekend series versus Jackson State University.
Another Florida team finds itself off to a good start. The Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats opened its edition of the 2016 season (2-1) dropping a 5-0 decision to Murray State University, then evening the series with a commanding pitching performance from starter German Hernandez working eight scoreless innings in a 6-0 victory. Bethune-Cookman clinched the series with a 3-2 decision, as pitching propelled B-CU to both wins. Starter Tyler Norris held Murray State in check for five innings with 11 strike outs, two hits, throwing 90 pitches. Closer Clint Clymer sealed the deal in the series win. The Wildcats club has scheduled one mid-week, non-conference game against Central Florida University, then another non-conference single weekend game against Ball State.
Benedict College having won four straight games and eight of their last nine (8-2) with two coming against Florida Memorial University and a swept doubleheader against The Lincoln University (PA) Lions 8-2 and 11-1. The Tigers were up to their usual antics. Those base stealing bandits, known as the “greatest show on dirt”, are back at it again. Stolen bases led to timely hitting as David White Jr. had a two run homer and Skyler Sabado had a bases-loaded triple. Starter Yaniel Delgado allowed one hit and struck out five in four scoreless innings during the sweep. Benedict has scheduled two upcoming weekend home games against Point University.
On the down side, Black College Nines’ HBCU preseason No. 2 Edward Waters College started the season 4-2 taking one game from Clark Atlanta University and swept Morehouse College in a two game series. But the Tigers then lost three straight games on the road to St. Andrews University. The ball club, now 4-5, has scheduled one mid-week game against a very good University South Carolina Beaufort team and a weekend series versus Morehouse College.
Southern University started 2016 season 0-3 playing in the annual Major League Baseball Urban Invitational in New Orleans this past weekend. The losses came against Grambling University 15-0, Louisiana Tech 15-0 and Alcorn State University 6-2. The road does not get any easier as they face mid-week opponent Jackson State University, then visit Auburn University for a weekend series.
Other teams hoping to improve in the win column include Tougaloo College (0-14), Concordia College of Selma (2-10), Claflin University (4-11) and Lane College (0-7). Tougaloo has games with Rust College and Mississippi Valley State University, Concordia faces Rust College and Claflin hosts Kentucky Wesleyan University.