By Florida A&M Sports Information
ORMOND BEACH, FL (May 11) – The Florida A&M Softball team advances to the 2012 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship game for the second time in three seasons with a 12-6 win over Hampton University in a semifinal elimination game, here Friday evening at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.
Hampton finished the game with 10 hits, while committing seven errors on the game as FAMU finished the contest with nine hits.
The Lady Rattlers, playing in their third of three games on Friday, avenged their lone loss of the championship. Thursday night the Lady Rattlers were pummeled 15-6 by the Lady Pirates, committing FAMU to the loser’s bracket. The leadership of FAMU’s seniors was key to emerging to the championship game.
“Our mentality was that we could either go hard or go home. I had to get my mindset that I had to give it my all because this could be my last game playing collegiate ball. I knew without a doubt that my teammates had my back,” Whitney Robinson said.
Jasmin Donaldson finished the contest with a team-high three hits to lead the Lady Rattlers, while Sharde Estep tallied three hits to lead the Lady Pirates.
In addition, there were four homeruns hit in the contest as Estep, Brooke Boykin and Adriana Scott each recorded a homer for Hampton, while Whitney Robinson recorded a homer for FAMU.
Tenisha Dixon, having a great tournament, challenged he teammates to control their own destiny. ” I don’t do too much talking, but we had the mindset that the game was our and we had to do whatever we needed to do to take it,” she said.
Jennifer Lindsey (16-8) picked up the win for the Lady Rattlers as she pitched three innings, giving up five hits, four earned runs and striking out one, while Robinson gave up two earned runs, five hits and struck out one in four innings of relief.
Jailynn Jackson received the loss for the Lady Pirates as she gave up three earned runs, four hits, and struck out one in three innings of work.
FAMU took advantage of two Hampton errors to take a 4-0 in the bottom of the first inning.
The Lady Pirates would then cut the Lady Rattlers’ lead to 4-2 in the top of the second inning as Boykin hits a two-run blast to left field.
Donaldson and Obie Roberson took advantage of two more Hampton errors as they increased their lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the second.
Scott and Estep would then hit back-to-back home runs to cut FAMU ‘s lead to 6-4 in the top of the third innings.
Feeling the Lady Rattlers needed a momentum change, Wiggins inserted Robinson into the lineup in the third inning to try to swing the momentum. Robinson would answer the call with a two-run blast to centerfield that increased the Lady Rattlers’ lead to 8-4.
On the mound, Robinson was solid, allowing the Lady Rattlers’ commitment to defense to dominate the game. “When I would get in a tight on the mound, my teammates would tell me to put it over the plate and they would handle it. I did just that and they played hard on defense,” Robinson concluded.
The Lady Pirates would push across two more runs in the top of the fifth, whereas FAMU would score two more runs in both the fourth and fifth innings for the 12-6 win.
With the win, FAMU raises it record to 28-28 on the season and will face the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at 1 p.m. in the 2012 MEAC Softball Championship game.
Wiggins said it didn’t take much to motivate her team. ” I didn’t have to say much of anything to get them ready. We set a goal before we left Tallahassee and we’re focused on reaching it, ” Wiggins said.
The Lady Rattlers will have to defeat the Wildcats twice as they are coming out of the loser’s bracket and have one loss, whereas B-CU has not lost a game in the 2012 MEAC Softball Championships.
In the new Millennium, FAMU has faced Bethune-Cookman twice in the MEAC Championship game. The Lady Rattlers won the MEAC Championship in 2005 at Disney’s Wild World of Sports in Kissimmee, Fla., as the Wildcats came out of the loser bracket and won the first game 8-3 to force a second game. FAMU won the second game, 4-3 as the Lady Rattlers’ Ruby Nugent scored on a B-CU infielder’s error.
In 2009, FAMU were the spoilers as they forced a second and deciding game as the Lady Rattlers won the first game 4-0 and the second game 9-1 in five innings.