Lawrenceville, GA–The first two innings appeared to be a pitching battle between All-SWAC Florida A&M hurler Hunter Viets and Grambling State’s Lorenzo Peterson. It was a SWAC matchup in the Ralph Garr-Bill Lucas HBCU Baseball Classic presented by Truist at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA. FAMU would put up three runs in the top of the third inning and that would be enough to get the win, but they would add 14 more for the 17-2 win over the Tigers.
“It all starts with the guy on the hill Hunter Viets. That was a close ball game until the sixth inning,” said FAMU Head Coach Jamey Shouppe. “It was 4-2 before we put some runs on the board and then blew em’ out late. It’s not going to happen everyday. You can’t coach that, you can’t plan for that. It was good to see our guys win and win big.”
All-SWAC Viets was in complete control
Viets pitched seven solid innings giving up just two runs on the day. He collected eight strikeouts while walking just one batter. In the end he would give up just six hits in the outing.
The Rattler bats were hot though. When you couple that with the errant pitching of GSU, it details how the Rattlers scored 10 runs in the top of the eighth inning. Ty Hanchey led the Rattlers from the plate going 3-for-4, with a third inning solo shot to start the scoring for FAMU. Joseph Pierini, JanMikell Bastardo, Will Brown, and Jalen Niles each collected two hits in the game. In all, seven Rattlers would score twice each in the win.
GSU pitching was the weak link
For the Tigers, the story was pitching. Peterson, who started the game, was effective and held the game close until he exited in the sixth inning. He would give up four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts. The problem for GSU was when Peterson exited. Relief pitching would not fare well against the Rattlers. The Rattlers would tap the relief pitching for 13 runs with several of the scores coming from walks as GSU relievers simply were not able to locate the zone.
Grambling catcher Julian Murphy collected two hits in the game, going 2-for-3. Four other Tigers pounded out one hit each, including third baseman Cameron Bufford who slugged a solo homer in the fourth inning to start GSU’s scoring in the game.
“It’s a great tournament. It’s a Ralph Garr and Bill Lucas tournament…two guys that represented their universities well. Tonight our bats and Hunter Viets on the hill and Zach Morae coming out of the bullpen and throwing a scoreless last inning, he’s been struggling a little bit,” Shouppe said. “Coach (Todd) Alford made a couple of changes on him and it’s good to see him go three up, three down in the last inning. It doesn’t mean a whole lot though. We’ve got to turn around and get a doubleheader tomorrow. We’ve got to win the series first and then try to sweep the series.”