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Panthers Top ERAU Softball in Series Opener

Melanie Murphy

The Florida Tech Panthers won their sixth straight game on Friday, beating Sunshine State Conference powerhouse Embry-Riddle 2-0 in the opening game of a three-game series at Nancy Bottge Field.

Melanie Murphy, who got the save in a win over Tiffin on Thursday, got her first start since February 24 and she did not disappoint, throwing a complete -game four-hitter against a very potent Eagles lineup.

Murphy had to be good because her counterpart Ilona Andringa brought her A game as well. Xiarysse Emerenciana led off the bottom of the first with a triple for the Panthers but she was stranded after Andringa got the next three outs.

She would go on to retire 13 consecutive Florida Tech batters, ending with a single by Makayla Palmer with one out in the fifth. Murphy meanwhile, worked out of trouble in the fourth, leaving two runners on and a runner at third in the fifth. She also had to work around errors in the second and fourth frames.

Florida Tech (13-11, 2-5 SSC) finally broke through in the sixth. Emerenciana drew a one-out walk and Mikayla Wessel slapped a single to left. Both runners would move up on a passed ball and Ally Carver would then fly out to center. The ball was not very deep, but with Emerenciana running, it didn’t need to be. She easily beat the ball to the plate and gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

Jessica Callahan followed with an RBI double down the line in left, giving the Panthers an insurance run, with Rule crossing the plate.

Murphy (4-5) came out to finish things up and was greeted by pinch-hitter Eryn Chester’s single. Destiny Carroll was next and she hit a sinking fly ball to left that Lexi Bettermann ran in on and dove head first to make a nice catch. Bettermann had just been inserted in left, after pinch-running in the bottom of the sixth.

Murphy then got Hop to ground into a fielder’s choice and Peqe Lopez to ground out, ending the game.

That capped a five-hit shutout for Murphy, who recorded four strikeouts and did not walk a batter. Andringa was the hard-luck loser in this one, allowing four hits in her complete-game effort. She struck out seven and walked one.

For the Eagles, this was just their second loss in 10 games. They fell to 16-5 overall and 8-2 in Sunshine State Conference play.

For more info: Embry-Riddle @ Florida Tech Box Score

This series wraps up Saturday with a doubleheader, beginning at noon.