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Let's play 2, take 2, and take the series: Florida A&M takes the Garr-Lucas HBCU Baseball Classic

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks once said, "Let's play two". This means playing 2 games in a day (a doubleheader).

On Saturday, February 26th, both the Grambling State University Tigers (2-2 overall) and the Florida A&M Rattlers (3-3 overall) take this adage to heart. With pending inclement weather in Sunday's forecast, the teams conclude the 2nd annual Ralph Garr-Bill Lucas HBCU Baseball Classic with a doubleheader (3pm EST first pitch for the first game and then the second game starting 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game) on a scenic 60 degree afternoon at CoolRay Field (at 2500 Buford Drive in Lawrenceville, GA)

The Tigers look to get back in the series after dropping the first game (7-2), as they committed 4 errors in the Friday evening opener (click HERE for the recap). Getting to the .500 with last night's win, the Rattlers look to take the series and build momentum before entering conference play.

Doubleheader Game 1 (Game 2 of the Series) Highlights (FAMU wins 7-5)

A determined Tigers offense strikes in the top of the 2nd inning (as they are the road team in the 7-inning affair). John Garcia's RBI triple followed by Aries Gardner's RBI groundout gives them a 2-0 lead. They would add another run in the top of the 3rd inning thanks to another RBI hit (single) by Garcia to make it 3-0.

The Rattlers (true to their name) would strike back in the bottom of the 3rd against starter Roy Peguero (who would go 3 innings with 2 strikeouts/3 walks while allowing 3 runs on 4 hits). Grant Rowell's RBI single would be complimented by a throwing error on Adam Haidermota's fielder's choice which leads to 2 runners scoring, tying the game at 3.

In the top of the 5th inning, an RBI triple by Shemar Page followed by another run-producing single by John Garcia gives Grambling a 5-3 lead. After knocking out FAMU starting pitcher Kelyn Fox (5 innings pitched/3 strikeouts and 1 walk/allowing 5 runs on 8 hits), it seems as if the Tigers would hold on and break through in the win column.

However, in the bottom of the 6th inning, the Rattlers would break out.

A 4-run inning driven by Joseph Perini's 2-run triple and Grant Rowell's 2-run single caps off a relentless comeback by FAMU, giving them a 7-5 win. Trent Langley would get the win thanks to pitching a scoreless 6th inning and Ben Krizen would earn his second save of the season; the Tigers' Corben Peters (3 innings pitched/5 strikeouts and 2 walks/allowing 4 runs on 3 hits) would take the loss.

With the win, the Rattlers improve to 4-3 overall; the Tigers drop to 2-3 overall.

Doubleheader Game 2 (Game 3 of the Series) Highlights

After taking the first 2 games of the series (and first game of the doubleheader), FAMU is focused on getting the series sweep. On the other hand, a win in the 3rd game of the series allows Grambling to earn a win and avoid the sweep.

As is the case in the first game of the series, the Rattlers get the first run of the game in the top of the 4th thanks to a wild pitch/strikeout which plates Joseph Pierini to take a 1-0 lead. The Tigers would respond in the bottom of the 4th as LaMarcus Jones' RBI single evens the score.

In the top of the 5th inning, FAMU would get a little separation from Grambling State and tack on 2 more runs off starter Connor Rudy (5 innings/5 strikeouts and 3 walks/allowing 3 runs on 6 hits). As is the case for the majority of the series, Joseph Pierini is the the middle of things as his RBI single along with a walk/RBI for Grant Rowell give the Rattlers a 3-1 lead to help starting pitcher Hunter Viest.

The Rattlers would add a run in the top of the 7th thanks to Adam Haidermota's bases loaded walk to make it 4-1 game. While David Valoy, Jr's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 8th would get the Tigers back in the game (4-2), Evan Badger's 2-RBI single in the top of the 9th inning would seal the deal for the Rattlers, resulting in a 6-2 win. Hunter Viest (6 innings pitched/6 strikeouts and 1 walk/4 hits and 1 run [unearned] allowed) earns the win, as Jeremiah McCollum earns his first save of the season.

Thanks to timely hitting along with taking advantage of several miscues by Grambling State, FAMU not only wins the 2nd annual Ralph Garr-Bill Lucas Classic, but does so in sound fashion. They as they win all three games by a combined score of 20-10 as they average just under 7 runs per game.

The Rattlers improve to 5-3 overall while the Tigers drop to 2-4 overall.

With the Garr-Lucas Classic concluding, both teams look forward to their next set of games. FAMU looks to take momentum (via their 3 game winning streak) with them as they tangle with the Florida Gators on March 2nd in Gainesville, FL. Grambling State looks to stop their current 3-game losing streak as they travel to Starkville, MS to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

And they'll both be ready to do it again for the 3rd annual edition of the classic in 2023.

Notes: All video is recorded by Andrew Snorton. All images in the first 3 grids are compiled by Andrew Snorton; the images in the 4th grid are compiled and credited to EmoryRose Photography.

Video key (in order of appearance):

  1. Pre-game talk with Grambling State's head coach and team.

  2. FAMU at batting practice.

  3. A combination of game action clips (Game 1 of the doubleheader).

  4. Acknowledgemnt of Bill Lucas, Jr.

  5. A combination of game action clips (Game 2 of the doubleheader).

  6. Acknowledgement of Ralph Garr.

  7. Additional game action clips (Game 2 of the doubleheader).

  8. FAMU wins both games of the doubleheader and celebrates their sweep of Grambling State.

Photo grids (in order of appearance):

  1. First grid (left to right): the top row features FAMU taking batting practice, while the second row is a snapshot of Grambling State during batting practice and the Atlanta Braves' World Series trophy on tour. The third row is another shot of FAMU at batting practice along with both coaches (the Tigers' James Cooper and the Rattlers' Jamey Shouppe) meeting at home plate. The fourth row is another look at the coaches and Grambling State getting ready to compete; the bottom row is a look at FAMU as well as Rattlers' second basema Joseph Pierini (who is a key cog in the team's offense).

  2. Second grid (left to right): the top row shows the Rattlers' Camden Hart and the Tigers' Trevor Hatton at the plate. The second row features Game 1 (doubleheader) starters Roy Peguro and Kelyn Fox, while the 3rd row features Zeddric Burnham (FAMU) and a critical timeout for both teams. The bottom row features Ethan Jenkins (FAMU) and Shemar Page (Grambling State).

  3. Third grid (left to right): the first row includes Tyler Dunbar (FAMU) and an unidentified Grambling State player at the plate, while the second row has another Grambling State player and Adam Haidermota at the plate. The third row shows the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Bill Lucas, Jr and startng pitcher Huner Viest (who is the winning pitcher in the second game of the doubleheader to conclude the series). For the bottom row, battery mates David Valoy, Jr and Connor Rudy map out their strategy, and the end result is FAMU winning both games of the doubleheader and the series.

  4. Fourth grid (photo credit to EmoryRose Photography/left to right): the top row features FAMU's Will Brown hustling down the first base line and Ty Hanchey sliding into home plate. The second row includes Grambling's Aries Gardner and FAMU's Joseph Pierini. Ty Hanchey (FAMU) digs in at the plate, and Bill Lucas, Jr (the son of the late Bill Lucas, a FAMU alum, Braves HOF'er, and the first African-American GM in in Major League Baseball) takes the field for the ceremonial first pitch (2nd game of the doubleheader/3rd game of the series) in the 3rd row; the 4th row shows John Garcia (Grambling State) executing blocking the plate to revent a runner scoring, along with LJ Bryant (FAMU) making a move. The 5th row includes Zeddric Burnham (FAMU) and Grambling State's Trevor Hatton. The next (6th) row showcases LJ Bryant (FAMU) and an unidentified Grambling State player crossing the plate. The bottom row concludes with Grambling State's Jarficur Parker and FAMU's sparkplug, Joseph Pierini, scoring a run as FAMU wins all 3 games of the series.


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