Preview: No. 6 Edward Waters Set to Host No. 1 Florida Memorial To Begin Their 2024 Seasons

The in-state college baseball rivalry between Florida Memorial University and Edward Waters University baseball teams begins this weekend as both teams open up their 2024 seasons with a three-game series in Jacksonville, Florida. The Lions of Florida Memorial, the number one team in Black College Nines’ small school pre-season poll will compete against No. 6th-ranked Tigers of Edward Waters on Friday, Feb. 2, and a scheduled doubleheader finale to conclude the series Saturday, Feb. 3.

Both teams has received votes in the top 10 poll each of the pas two years to open the season. This is the first meeting since both EWU and FMU met as ranked teams to open the 2023 season.


Game 1

Friday, Feb. 2 | 6 p.m.

No. 1 Florida Memorial (0-0) vs. No. 6 Edward Water (0-0)

Ridgeview Field 839 Washington Ave. | Orange Park, FL

Live Stats

Game 2 & 3


Saturday, Feb. 3 | 12 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

No. 1 Florida Memorial (0-0) vs. No. 6 Edward Water (0-0)

Ridgeview Field 839 Washington Ave. | Orange Park, FL

Live Stats 


The Lions and Tigers will face off for the first time on Friday. The last time these two teams met, Edward Waters recorded two wins defeating Florida Memorial to open the 2023 season. Both teams enter the series as previous HBCU baseball Black College World Series champions. Florida Memorial won the 2023 series. Edward Waters claimed its title in 2022.


Edward Waters and Florida Memorial played each other in a winner-take-all semifinal game during the 2022 Black College World Series (BCWS). With Edward Waters’ win over Florida Memorial, these two storied rivals, both teams have punched their ticket to the last three Black College World Series since the inaugural event started in Montgomery, Alabama in 2021. The Tigers of Edward Waters won over the Lions advancing to the championship game and eventually became the national title holder.

The games will be played at Ridgeview High School located in the Jacksonville suburb of Orange Park. J.P. Small Memorial Stadium, home of Edward Waters baseball in Jacksonville, is undergoing field renovations and won’t be available until next year. Due to the renovations at Tigers home field, home games will be played at Ridgeview HS and FSCJ North Campus this season.

Since the start of this rivalry, both programs have played their regular season games like they’re competing for an HBCU Baseball championship.

Typically, both teams beat up on each other the last nine seasons with Florida Memorial holding a slight edge. Both teams have split the last 24 games dating back to February 9, 2015. The Lions have the longest winning streak at four games from 4/13/2016 – 4/20/20/2016. In 2016, Edward Waters finished the regular season 31-13 overall, with a 12-2 record in Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC).

Florida Memorial’s tough conference schedule includes five members in the SUN Conference that are either ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll or receiving votes and receive postseason play in the NAIA National Tournament.

In the past, Florida Memorial has knocked off EWU from the top perch. During the 2018 season, Florida Memorial upset then top-ranked Edward Waters in double header action topping the Tigers in game one 3-1, then held on for a 2-1 win in game two ending EWC eight game winning streak. The caption read: No. 5 Florida Memorial Upsets No. 1 Edward Waters.

Coming into that series, Florida Memorial was ranked No. 1 in the Week 1 (March 13, 2018) first poll in Black College Nines (BCN) HBCU Baseball small school Top 10 ranking of the season. The Week 2 (April 3, 2018) poll had Edward Waters in the No. 1 spot leapfrogging FMU who slipped to No. 5 after a four-game losing streak.

Florida Memorial won the 2023 Black College World Series last spring and claimed the baseball program’s first-ever national title.

During that series, Florida Memorial put together enough big plays to earn a 5-4 win over NCAA Division II HBCU Baseball powerhouse Albany State University in a thrilling 19-inning affair to be crowned champion. It was the Lions’ second win over a top-ranked team in the nation in program history.

In 2024, both teams have a tough conference and non-conference schedule.

Florida Memorial Preview: 

Florida Memorial is looking forward to the 2024 baseball season with a veteran returning roster. This team is better than last season’s national title team. Their only hiccup is the loss of Jalen Young. Outside of Young, they return the entire team while adding a few big pieces to the lineup that will make an impact. Veterans will continue to be a force on the defensive side.

With many key players returning, FMU baseball head coach Tino Burgos has been able to add some new faces that should impact the 2024 season. Ernie Farrell, a native of New York (Monroe CC) is a key addition who likely will enter the year as the new starting third baseman. The former JUCO All-American adds some juice to the lineup. Also added to the team is transfer Alejandro Fernandez (Paine University), a catcher who has stood out this fall.

On the mound, key additions will be LHP Juan Anderson, RHP Stephen West and RHP Carlos Solano. All three should see a good number of innings in the spring.

Key position returners from the conference tournament team and BCWS National Championship team include Luis Ruiz, Ivan Zombrano, Ulises Rodriguez, Reinaldo Prieto, and two-way player Kyle Morrison. On the mound, Max Charnin (2023 Black College World Series MVP) , William Hiciano, Jamal Johnson, Kelvin Feliciano, and Kyle Morrison all return for the Lions. This core group of veterans, mixed in with the new faces, have made this season competitive at every position.

The Lions are geared up to make another run at the BCWS to defend the national title for 2024.

Edward Waters Preview: 

Edward Waters, an NCAA Division II program, and a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), returns seven of the eight position players from last year. Catcher Anthony Roman and 3B Hugo Schoening look to lead the Tigers into a successful 2024 campaign. They will be joined by key newcomers, transfer OF Tory Jones, freshman MIF Misael Ramos, freshman C/RHP Jeremy Nieves, transfer MIF Dave Mitchum and transfer catcher JeanCarlos Medina.

After finishing 26-24 overall and 16-13 in its first full season in the SAIC conference, the Tigers look to improve in all areas of the game, especially on the mound. RHP Alexander Davila and LHP Austin James return to lead the staff alongside fellow returners RHP Cameron Chastain and RHP Luis Valero. The Tigers have made great strides preparing to have a productive season.

This fall, head Coach Reginald Johnson addressed the Tigers’ pitching staff. The addition of pitching coach Jared Brown will be a key Edward Waters needed to strengthen the starters and the bullpen.

About The Historic Rivalry: 

Florida Memorial swept longtime rival Edward Waters in its 2015 season home opener. Will history repeat itself or can Edward Waters defeat its biggest foe on opening day and take the series?

This season opening series should have implication for both teams. The first HBCU baseball rankings come out in the first week of March. Up until then, this rivalry has the competitiveness and adrenaline for each team to play its best baseball.

When the Tigers and Lions face off, it’s a rivalry that includes bragging rights and upsets. At one time, both programs were members of the Florida Sun Conference. Florida Memorial was a charter member in 1992. Edward Waters joined in 2006 then move to the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) after the 2009–2010 season, and now is a NCAA DII program.

The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Orange Park, Fla. Friday’s game time temperatures is expected in the 50 degrees. Saturday start time should be a high 60s to 70s for the scheduled doubleheader.

The rivalry continues!

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