The Florida Tech Panthers opened their season Saturday in Columbus Georgia, participating in the Southern Softball Showdown. In Game one, the Panthers beat Valdosta State 4-1, before dropping a 7-1 decision to Columbus state in game two.
Against Valdosta State, the Panthers scored four first-inning runs and junior transfer pitcher Melanie Murphy made it stand up, going the distance in the circle and earning her first win in a Panthers uniform. She did give up a run in the top of the first, walking two batters and allowing a run-scoring single to Brandy Morgan.
With one out in the bottom of the inning Melinda Rule singled off of Blazers starter Avery Lamb, she scored one out later on a double off the bat of Makayla Palmer, tying the game at one.
After Alexus Smith drew a walk, Rachel Kraak drove Palmer in with a single to right field. Junior newcomer Shanysse Emerenciana didn’t take long to make an impact on her new team, as she laced a two-run triple into center field, putting the Panthers up 4-1.
Lamb was pulled from the game after the triple and she gave way to Kameron Coggins who walked Ally Carver to start her day, but Emerenciana ended up getting picked off to end the threat.
Shanysse wasn’t the only Emerenciana to make her presence felt early, as twin sister Xiarysse led off the second inning with a single and stole second. After freshman Mikayla Wessel reached on an error, moving Emerenciana to third, she stole second. Unfortunately for the Panthers Lamb got the next three outs, ending the threat.
The Panthers threatened again in the fourth inning. Xiarysse Emerenciana got hit by a pitch and stole second one out later. Rule then drew a walk and Vanessa Rubio was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. That brought Palmer to the plate. Lamb got her to ground to short to end the inning and keep the Panthers from adding to the lead.
Florida Tech would leave two more on base in the sixth inning but it didn’t matter, as Murphy allowed just one hit in the seventh to Morgan. Of the four hits Murphy gave up in her complete-game effort, two were to Morgan. Muphy finished her day, walking three and striking out four, throwing 78 pitches in her debut
For more info: Valdosta State @ Florida Tech Box Score
The game against Columbus State didn’t go nearly as well for the Panthers. FIT starter Amanda Kahn ran into trouble in the second, giving up a double, hitting a batter and allowing a bunt single, loading the bases to start the inning. One out later, JoJo Beyer made her pay in a big way, hitting a grand slam and giving the Cougars a 4-0 lead.
Florida Tech (1-1) got a run back in the third inning against Columbus State starter Peyton Sorrells. Shanysse Emerenciana started the inning with an infield single and no surprise, stole second. After Carver drew a walk Xiarysse Emerenciana reached on a fielders choice, loading the bases. After Sorrells struck out the next two batters, she walked Rubio, allowing a run to score.
Kahn (0-1) gave up two more hits and a run in the third before giving way to McKenzie Krutsinger who got the last two outs in the frame. Kahn lasted 2.1 innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and hitting a batter. she did not issue a walk or record a strikeout.
The Cougars added single runs in the fifth and sixth, giving them their seven runs. Krutsinger allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) over her 3.2 innings of work. She walked one and struck out one.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Columbus State Box Score
Florida Tech will play two more games Sunday to close out the tournament. They will face Union at 10:00 a.m. and Georgia College at 3:00 p.m.