Ralph Garr-Bill Lucas HBCU Classic (Game 2): FAMU outlasts Grambling in Game 2 by a 3-1 score
Pre-game: Florida A&M University Rattlers vs Grambling State University Tigers
Game 1 of the inaugural Atlanta Braves Ralph Garr-Bill Lucas HBCU Baseball Classic presented by Truist is decided in the late innings (after the 7th inning) as the Rattlers pull away from the Tigers for a 7-4 win (click HERE for our recap).
With the pageantry over, the level of play should intensify. Florida A&M is looking to add another win and as a result, win the series. Grambling is looking to even the series along with getting their first win of the season.
During pre-game, both head coaches Jamey Shouppe (Florida A&M) and James Cooper (Grambling) take a moment to share their thoughts on last night's game and adjustments they'll make for tonight's game; likewise, Ms. Aisha Cooper, the President of the Grambling State University Metro Atlanta Alumni Association, welcomes all to attend tonight's game (she throws the ceremonial first pitch):
Game Summary: Florida A&M University escapes with a 3-1 win to take Game 2 of the series
The second game of the series at Coolray Field has a more intense feel, creating a different yet alluring energy reflective of the game of baseball and the efforts of both teams.
Florida A&M jumps out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning. Joseph Pierini's 2-run double sparks the Rattlers to an early lead, and a successfully executed squeeze play (bunt) by JD Tease adds another run.
For the rest of the game, stellar pitching and defense from both teams keeps the offenses at bay.
Entering the bottom of the 9th inning, the Rattlers are enjoying a 3-0 lead It seems they have the game in hand.
And that is why they play the game.
Seemingly suddenly, the command FAMU has for the majority of the game dissipates. As a result, Grambling pushes them to the brink of completely changing the game. Due to some walks and Tigers' outfielder Nehemiah Wright getting hit by a pitch, Grambling has the bases loaded with no one out.
After a run is walked in, making it a 3-1 game, it looks as if the tables are about to turn in the Tigers' favor.
And then, the Rattlers rattle the cages so to speak.
Two consecutive strikeouts leave the Tigers down to their last batter, and when a streaming line drive is snagged by FAMU's shortstop to get a force out at second base barely in the nick of time, they truly escape a tense, yet thrilling situation as Grambling is literally this close to putting the game in extra innings or evening the series.
FAMU's 2-game winning streak (2-12) clearly is in for a test as Grambling (0-10) looks to get their first win of the season and avoid the sweep (the last game of the series is scheduled for March 14th at 1pm EST - click HERE for ticket information).
A great game. A great series. And great support for HBCU baseball and beyond.
Writer's notes: All video and photos captured by Andrew Snorton.
Photo-grid 1 (Pre-game):
Top row (left to right): Grambling head coach James Cooper, a Grambling player during warm-ups, and Florida A&M head coach Jamey Shouppe preparing for the game.
Bottom row (left to right): Rattlers at the batting cages, DJ TyWalker cranking up the sounds, and yes, we're preparing for another great game.
Video (our pre-game interviews are with the following people):
Head coach Jamey Shouppe (Rattlers).
Head coach James Cooper (Tigers).
President of the Grambling State University Metro Alumni Association (Ms. Aisha Cooper).
Photo-grid 2 (In-game):
Top row: FAMU and Grambling take a moment to pause before the first pitch.
Second row (from the top): The World Famed Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band gets everyone ready with their energetic style of music and more; Ms. Aisha Cooper, President of the Grambling State University Metro Atlanta Alumni Association, throws the ceremonial first pitch.
Third row (from the top): Early in the game, Grambling tries to make a move on offense. Jordyn Smith digs in at the plate.
Fourth row (from the top): Grambling catcher Kevin Breaux frames the plate against the Rattler offense, including Jalen Niles. Overall, the Tigers' pitching effort (3 runs allowed) curtails the Rattlers' efforts from Game 1 (where they scored 7 runs).
Fifth row (from the top): Grambling's Marc Luna gets off to a fast start (in the 1st inning), but runs into trouble in the 2nd in the form of Joseph Pierini, as his 2-run double gets the scoring started for FAMU>
Sixth row (one row up from the bottom): FAMU's LJ Bryant celebrates his teammate scoring on Joseph Pierini's 2-run double; likewise, he gets ready to come to the plate.
Seventh row (bottom row): Grambling comes up to the plate. After surviving a 9th inning scare where Grambling has the bases loaded with no outs, the Rattlers celebrate, as they escape with a 3-1 win.