Host Panthers Lose Tournament Opener

Melanie Murphy – Photo credit: Cindy Rieber

The Florida Tech Softball Classic Tournament started Friday morning with the Panthers hosting #22 St. Mary’s. Melanie Murphy pitched her fifth consecutive complete game, but five errors behind her helped the Rattlers hang on for a 3-1 win.

Murphy (2-3) allowed six hits and struck out six in her 120 pitch performance. She did not walk a batter but did hit two. All three of the runs were unearned. Staci Johns also pitched a complete game for the Rattlers, giving up seven hits, walking three and striking out two. She threw 127 pitches.

It was a pitchers’ duel for the first three innings with Murphy and St. Mary’s pitcher Staci Johns matching zeros. The Panthers did threaten in the bottom of the third. Xiarysse Emerenciana showed off her wheels, beating out a bunt and went to second on a Mikayla Wessel infield hit. A sacrifice fly by Ally Carver moved both runners up to second and third, but the inning ended on a Jessica Callahan pop out.

Murphy did not give up a hit until there was one out in the fourth. Abigale Carney reached on an infield single and after a fielder’s choice and an error loaded the bases, Murphy came back to strike out Johns and got Alex Moreno to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

The Rattlers (7-5) got on the board in the top of the fifth. Hannah Michel doubled with one out and Kristal Salinas then singled and went to second on an error by Callahan in left. The error allowed the run to score and St. Mary’s took a 1-0 lead. Murphy then hit Raynelle Nash and gave up a single to Brenda Iparraguirre, but got Carney to ground out, ending the inning with just the one run on the board.

In the bottom of the fifth Alexus Smith singled to start the inning and Pinch-runner Melinda Rule went to second on a sac bunt by Shanysse Emerenciana. Xiarysse Emerenciana’s groundout got Rule to third and a single by Wessel chased her home with the tying run.

The Rattlers took the lead for good in the top of the sixth. Johns reached on a tough error by Shanysse Emerenciana, who made a nice play at short, spinning around to make the throw, only to throw it over Victoria Szrom at first base. One out later, Alessandra Ortiz finished off an 11 pitch at bat with a single to right-center, putting runners at the corners.

After Taylor Germain flied out, Michel hit one to first that Szrom bobbled, allowing both runners to score and giving St. Mary’s a 3-1 lead.

Florida Tech did not go down without a fight. After stranding runners at first and second in the bottom of the sixth, Rebecca Wilson led off the seventh for the Panthers with a scorcher to right. Carney fielded and came up firing, nipping Wilson at first in a bang-bang play. Xiarysse Emerenciana followed with an infield hit and went to second one out later on Carver’s single.

Callahan then walked to load the bases, but a groundout by Palmer ended the Panthers hopes of getting above the .500 mark for the time being.

Wessel (2-for-3) and Xiarysse Emerenciana (2-for-4) were the only Panthers with multi-hit games. Iparraguirre had two hits for St. Mary’s.

For more info: St. Mary’s @ Florida Tech Box Score

The Panthers will continue tournament play this afternoon at 3:00 p.m., taking on a familiar foe in Lynn University. This will be a non-conference game with the first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m.