The host Panthers finished the 2018 Florida Tech Softball Classic with a 4-3 win over the Flagler Saints on Sunday night. With darkness becoming a factor, the Panthers manufactured a run in the top of the seventh when Ally Carver‘s sac fly brought home Xiarysse Emerenciana to give the Panthers the lead for good.
The win gave the Panthers a winning weekend at 3-2 and put them over the .500 mark at 7-6 overall.
“That was a great win for us,” said Panthers coach Val Silvestrini. “Flagler is a really good team, very competitive and it was shown today on the field.”
The Panthers were the visiting team in this game and they jumped on the board first, when Vanessa Rubio took a Katlyn McCue pitch over the wall in right, giving her team a 1-0 lead. It was the biggest hit of Rubio’s 3-for-day.
Melanie Murphy got the start for the Panthers and she was victimized by another Murphy, Natalie, who took her deep in the bottom of the second, tying the game at one. It would not be the last we heard from Natalie or her twin sister Morgan, in this game.
The Panthers regained the lead in the third inning. Mikayla Wessel beat out a bunt and then showed more of her speed, stealing second. Carver then singled up the middle bringing Wessel home and giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
FIT would add another run in the top of the fourth. Rubio started the inning with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rachel Kraak. Shanysse Emerenciana followed with a single, putting runners at first and third. After Emerencianna stole second, Rebecca Wilson was called on to pinch-hit and she worked a walk from McCue, loading the bases. A sac fly by Wessel made it 3-1.
The lead would disappear quickly, as Natalie doubled off the left-field wall to start the bottom of the fourth. One out later, Morgan Murphy took Melanie Murphy out of the yard and the game was tied at three.
Murphy then gave up another single and hit a batter, before retiring her last batter of the night. She gave way to McKenzie Krutsinger, who already had one stellar pitching performance this weekend. She would put together another before the night was done.
As for Melanie Murphy, the 3.2 inning performance marks the first time that she did not register a complete game this season. This was her seventh start. She threw 53 pitches, giving up three runs on six hits.
“She’s been pitching a lot for us,” said Silvestrini of Murphy. “It was the end of the weekend, she’s a little bit tired, so McKenzie came in and did what she needed to do. She got some groundouts and got us out of innings.”
Xiarysse Emerenciana started the seventh inning with a grounder that kicked away from Morgan Murphy at second. After she stole second, Emerenciana went to third on Wessel’s sacrifice fly. That brought Carver to the plate. On the seventh pitch of her at-bat, she sent a high fly to right, deep enough to score the run and give the Panthers a 4-3 lead.
“I think we’re starting to figure out what we’re gonna be about,” said Silvestrini. “We’re gonna be about getting runners on base, move them and being a threat every single inning and I think that’s what we did.”
Krutsinger (3-1) did give up a single and a walk in the bottom of the frame, but she also got the first and only strikeout for Panthers pitching in between those. She got Natalie Murphy to fly out and Tatum Morgan lined a shot to Xiarysse at second base that she dove for and made a great catch, grabbing the ball just before it hit the ground.
Krutsinger threw 43 pitches in her 3.1 innings of work. She allowed two hits and a walk while recording the one strikeout.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Flagler Box Score
Florida Tech will now hit the road to start Sunshine State Conference play at Saint Leo. The three-game series starts Friday night at 7:00 and wraps up Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.