Florida Tech deserved a better fate against 10th-ranked Saint Leo on Friday, but the Lions prevailed with a sac fly in the bottom of the seventh off the bat of Bethany Kursch, allowing Ashley Morris to score from third and give the home team a 1-0 victory.
Makayla Palmer had two of the Panthers three hits in the loss, with Xiarysse Emerenciana getting the only extra-base hit, a double in the top of the sixth.
Panthers starter Melanie Murphy (3-4) pitched her sixth complete game, giving up one run on seven hits. She walked two and struck out two. Alison Mitts improved to 6-0 for Saint Leo, striking out nine and walking two. She struck out the side in the second inning.
Saint Leo (10-3) loaded the bases in the fifth, but Shyanne DuBois lined hard to Xiarysse Emerenciana at second. She dove and made a great catch to get out of the inning.
The Lions threatened again in the bottom of the sixth. Sarah Pauscher tripled with one out and a single and hit batter loaded the bases, but Murphy made the pitch she needed, getting Sommer Pollard to groundout, ending the inning.
Florida Tech (7-7) got a two-out single from Palmer in the seventh and Rachel Kraak drew a walk, putting runners at first and second. Mitts battled back to get pinch-hitter Rebecca Wilson on strikes, ending the inning.
The bottom of the seventh started with a groundout by Kacie Kelly, but Morris followed with a line drive single to right field. Ally Carver misplayed it and Morris alertly went to third. The play was originally scored a triple but later changed to an error.
Dubois came up and laid down a bunt. It looked like she was tagged, but the umpire ruled her safe. Panthers coach Val Silvestrini went out to plead her case and the umpires did get together to discuss it but stuck with the call.
Kursch came up and hit the ball to Lexi Bettermann in left. She made the catch and fired it home, but the play was late and Morris got in with the winning run.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Saint Leo Box Score
The series wraps up Saturday with a doubleheader, beginning at 1:00 p.m.