The Florida Tech Panthers finished up their series with Tampa on Saturday, playing a doubleheader at Nancy Bottge Field. The Spartans won game one 5-3, but Florida Tech bounced back with a 4-0 win in game two behind a great pitching performance from Alaina Perry, who was making her first start.
In game one, Tampa got on the board early against Amanda Kahn, who gave up a solo home run to Makaleigh Dooley, who jumped on the first pitch she saw, giving Tampa a 1-0 lead.
Florida Tech answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, getting to Tampa starter Sam Kaye for two runs. Ally Carver was credited with an infield single, despite the appearance that the ball hit her body. Tampa did argue, but the call stood. After Jessica Callahan was hit by a pitch, Vanessa Rubio sacrificed the runners to second and third. That brought Alexus Smith drilled a two-run single up the middle and the Panthers led 2-1.
The Panthers threatened again in the bottom of the second with a double off the bat of Melinda Rule and an infield hit from Lexi Bettermann, who then stole second. Unfortunately, both runners were left stranded.
Tampa added a run in the top of the third. Sahrina Cortes doubled and later scored on a throwing error, tying the game at two. After Kahn hit Dooley with a pitch, she was lifted for McKenzie Krutsinger who was able to get the Panthers out of the inning with no further damage done.
Kahn gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits in two-plus innings pitched. She struck out two and did not walk a batter, throwing 39 pitches, 26 strikes.
Shelby Press singled with one out in the fifth and after Dooley popped out, Bailey Phillips took Krutsinger out of the yard, giving the Spartans a 4-2 lead.
The home team would get one back in the bottom of the sixth with coach Val Silvestrini manufacturing a run on the bases. Smith reached on an error, she was pinch run for by Shanysse Emerenciana, who quickly stole second. After Makayla Palmer grounded out, Victoria Szrom singled Emerenciana home, closing the gap to 4-3.
Dooley took over in the circle for Tampa and all she did was strike out the final two batters in the sixth and strikeout the side in the seventh, giving Tampa the 5-3 victory.
The Panthers had six hits in game one, from six different batters. Kaye went 5.1 innings for Tampa, giving up six hits and three runs (two earned). She threw 62 of her 100 pitches for strikes. Dooley had the five K’s in 1.2 innings, throwing 23 of her 30 pitches for strikes.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Tampa Box Score (Game 1)
Florida Tech (8-11, 1-5 SSC) got things started in the second inning with Callahan hitting a solo home run with two outs.
Perry worked out of a couple jams in the early going, just keeping her wits about her. She was rewarded with another run to work with in the bottom of the third. With two outs Xiarysse Emerenciana singled and Carver reached on a fielder’s choice.
Emerenciana used her speed, as she took off for third, the throw down actually hit Callahan’s helmet and bounded into foul territory, allowing Emerenciana scored on the play, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The final runs of the day came in the bottom of the fifth. Bettermann tripled and came home on a triple off the top of the wall, scoring Bettermann with the third run. Carver followed with a bunt back to the mound and Emerenciana looked like she was shot out of a cannon, running down that third base line. She needed every bit of that speed, as she slid in just under the tag at the plate, giving the Panthers a 4-0 lead.
Perry (2-0) finally ran into some trouble in the top of the seventh, despite getting the first two outs. Sahrina Cortes singled and Press hit a double, putting runners at second and third. After Kaye walked to load the bases, Perry was taken out in favor of Krutsinger, as the two switched roles from game one.
Perry gave the Panthers all they could hope for in her first start. She recorded 20 of 21 outs. Krutsinger got Bailey Phillips on strikes to end the game, picking up her first save of the season.
Perry deserves a tip of the cap as she was under fire much of the day, but did not pitch like a freshman. She was poised and not intimidated by this very potent Tampa lineup. She pitched 6.2 innings, allowing seven hits and four walks while striking out three. She threw 97 pitches, 58 strikes.
For more info: Tampa @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
The Panthers continue this long homestand on Tuesday with a doubleheader against Stonehill. Game one is scheduled for a noon first pitch.