The Florida Tech Panthers lost their fourth conference game on Friday, dropping a 4-1 decision to the visiting Tampa Spartans in the opener of a three-game series.
McKenzie Krutsinger (3-3) started in the circle for Florida Tech and was given a 1-0 lead when the Panthers opened the scoring in the bottom of the second against Tampa starter Makaleigh Dooley. Alexus Smith walked on four pitches and scored all the way from first on a Vanessa Rubio double.
The lead held until the top of the fourth. Krutsinger got the first out but gave up a double to Emily Proffitt and walked Emalee Jansen on four pitches. Erica Matich then grounded one back to the mound and Krutsinger alertly threw to third to nab Proffitt for the second out. Lauren Reyes got Tampa on the board with an RBI single, tying the game.
With runners at the corners, Krutsinger walked Sahrina Cortes, loading the bases. Shelby Press came up and lined a two-run single off the glove of shortstop Shanysse Emerenciana, who got as much leather on it as she could, it was just hit too hard. Dooley’s RBI single made it 4-1.
Krutsinger got the final out of the inning but was done after four. She allowed four earned runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out one, throwing 73 pitches (46 strikes).
The Panthers (7-10, 0-4, SSC) threatened in the bottom of the fourth with Jessica Callahan leading off with a single. After Dooley struck out the next two hitters, Rubio notched her second hit of the day, putting runners at first and second. Victoria Szrom was next to face Dooley and she got her to foul out, ending the inning.
Tampa (9-8, 4-3 SSC) looked poised to score again in the top of the sixth against Panthers reliever Amanda Kahn, who got the first two outs pretty easily. Dooley doubled and Kahn hit Bailey Phillips with a pitch and Maddie Farrell hit a ball hard to left. Breanna Taphouse, who was running for Dooley came around third but decided late to put on the brakes and she was caught in a rundown. A 7-5-2-5 putout was the end result and the Panthers escaped without giving up another run.
Dooley did her job from there, allowing a single to Ally Carver in the sixth and another to Szrom in the seventh, but nothing more. The end result was a complete-game and her ninth win of the season. She walked one and struck out eight, throwing 72 of her 104 pitches for strikes.
Kahn did a nice job in relief of Krutsinger. She pitched three shutout innings, recording the only one, two, three inning of the day for the Panthers in the seventh. She did allow three hits, throwing 49 total pitches, 36 for strikes.
For more info: Tampa @ Florida Tech Box Score
The series wraps up on Saturday with a doubleheader at Nancy Bottge Field. First pitch is set for noon.