The Florida Tech Panthers got a much-needed conference win Friday, beating the Nova Southeastern Sharks 7-5 in the opener of a three-game weekend series.
Kevin Capella went 2-for-3 knocking in three runs. The Panthers were aided by four Sharks’ errors in the victory. Their troubles started in the bottom of the first. After NSU starter Devin Conn got the first two outs on strikeouts, he walked Ryan Sinzenich, gave up a single to Jacob Buser and walked Zac Orchard.
That brought Capella to the plate and he reached on a fielder’s choice and went to second on an error. The error allowed both runs to score, giving the Panthers an early 2-0 lead.
Nova (11-8, 4-3 SSC) answered in the top of the third when Jake Anchia singled off Panthers starter Ty Cohen, cutting the Panthers lead to 2-1. The Panthers would get that run back in the bottom of the inning, with Capella getting a base hit and again benefitting from a Sharks error, that brought Buser home. He reached on an error earlier in the inning.
The Sharks would strike for three runs in the top of the sixth. Cohen gave up an RBI single to Nathan Chevalier before giving way to Justin Barney on the mound. Jeffrey Cyr’s two-run single gave Nova Southeastern a short-lived 4-3 lead.
Florida Tech (10-13, 2-5 SSC) re-took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Orchard led off with a walk and came home on a double by Jakob Newton, tying the game at four. After Newton stole third, Rodnie Bernard singled him home, making it 5-4.
NSU did not go quietly. They would tie the game in the seventh when Andrew Liberty singled, stole second and came home one out later on an Ian Acevedo single, tying the game at five.
Conn was relieved by Ryan Maya in the bottom of the inning and he gave up a double to Daniel Szpik, who stole third one out later. He came home on a Buser sac fly, giving the Panthers a 6-5 lead.
Andrew Beyer would come on in the eighth and strike out two of the three batters he faced. His squad would get him an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Capella singled to start the inning but was picked off trying to steal second. That would prove costly, as the Sharks committed another error, this one in left field, allowing him to get all the way to second.
Bernard would then get locked in a long at-bat with Maya, before taking the 10th pitch of the battle down the right field line for an RBI double. Beyer would close the door in the ninth, getting Liberty swinging to end the game.
Cohen pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out 10. He threw 104 pitches and did not figure in the decision. Justin Barney (1-1) got the victory with his 1.1 innings of work. He did allow a run on three hits, striking out two. Beyer got his third save of the year with two spotless innings that saw him strike out three.
For more info: Nova Southeastern @ Florida Tech Box Score
These two teams will take the field again Saturday for a doubleheader. Game one is set for a noon start.