In our final closer look at Atlanta Regional programs, we look at the No.4 seed, the Florida A&M Rattlers out of the MEAC.
The Florida A&M Rattlers were able to rattle off four straight wins in the MEAC Conference Tournament in order to find themselves in Atlanta on Friday. The MEAC Tournament champions will actually enter the NCAA Tournament with a 27-32 overall record. That being said, a majority of their below .500 record was due to their struggles in non-conference play. When playing non-MEAC opponents, the Rattlers were 8-21 this season. They can’t use a hard strength of schedule as an excuse either, as they had the 219th best non-conference strength of schedule according to Warren Nolan.
That spells bad news for the Rattlers especially considering that each of the other three programs in the regional are ranked in the top-60 of the RPI. They only faced three programs within the top-100 of the RPI this season, losing all four matchups. It’s safe to say that just based off their performance this season, the Rattlers have the odds stacked against them this weekend.
Offensively, Florida A&M is below average nationally, scoring 5.6 runs per game, tied for 155th in the nation out of 299 teams in the country. Additionally, they only average about 8.5 hits per game. As a program, the Rattlers this season are hitting a mere .255 with just one hitter hitting above .300 on the season, that being Octavien Moyer, who’s hitting .312/.417/.459 this season with six home runs (21 extra base hits) and 26 RBI. The Rattlers don’t supply a ton of power, with just 20 home runs on the season.
On the mound, the Rattlers struggled their way through the regular season, with a team ERA of 5.31. That being said, they do have a few pitchers who can get the job done. Their best starter is junior right hander Kyle Coleman, who has started 16 games for the Rattlers this season and pitched his way to a 6-5 record with a 3.26 ERA over 94 innings pitched. They do have a top notch reliever as well in sophomore Jeremiah McCollum who has a 3.13 ERA in 25 appearances this season. Overall, the pitching staff is susceptible to giving up the long ball with 43 home runs surrendered this season. They’ll also give their fair share of free passes with 247 walks given out this season.
Overall, the Rattlers probably don’t stand much of a chance in the regional. They struggled immensely this season against top notch programs and they’ll face three of the best programs the country has to offer. The Rattlers may be able to stick around for a few innings on Friday night with the Yellow Jackets but ultimately, the Jackets should pull away from the Rattlers and cruise to victory if Amos Willingham can keep the Rattlers bats at bay on Friday night.