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PBA Sweeps FIT With Two Walk-off Victories

Vanessa Rubio – Photo credit: James Ragan Photography

The Florida Tech Panthers gave the conference-leading Sailfish of Palm Beach Atlantic all they wanted and more on Saturday, before falling in both ends of a doubleheader, 3-2 and 4-3.

PBA won both games in their final at-bat, a sac fly in game one and an unearned run in game two. The second game saw the Panthers defense commit three errors, including one that allowed the winning run to score.

Florida Tech got on the board first in game one, scoring in the top of the first. Xiarysse Emerenciana singled to start the game and later went to second on a wild pitch by Sailfish starter Abbey Busby. Emerenciana stole third and Jessica Callahan walked and advanced to second. Makayla Palmer‘s single brought Emerenciana home, but Callahan was nabbed at the plate, trying to score.

McKenzie Krutsinger (6-6) got the start for the Panthers and Magnolia West manufactured a run in the bottom of the first against her. West singled, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. She came home on a sacrifice bunt by Hannah Carlton.

The score remained tied until the top of the fifth when Florida Tech took advantage of an error allowing Shanysse Emerenciana to reach. She stole second and went to third on a single by Mikayla Wessel. An error on the play allowed Emerenciana to score and Wessel to get all the way to third, giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Wessel was anchored at third as the inning ended.

As they did in the first, Palm Beach Atlantic answered in the bottom of the fifth. Claudia Pizzarelli singled with one out and eventually came around to score on a single up the middle by Carlton, knotting the game at two.

The Panthers stranded two in the top of the seventh with singles by Xiarysse Emerenciana and Wessel going to waste. That would prove costly, as the home team got a sac fly from Carlton in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Pizzarelli with the winning run. Pizzarelli singled to start the seventh.

Carlton had two hits and knocked in all three Sailfish runs in game one. Xiarysse Emerenciana, Wessel and Vanessa Rubio all had two hits for the Panthers.

Krutsinger allowed three earned runs on 10 hits in 6.2 innings. She did not walk anyone and did not record a strikeout. Busby improved her record to 9-0, allowing seven hits in seven innings. Only one of the two runs she allowed was earned and she struck out six and walked one.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Palm Beach Atlantic Box Score (Game 1)

Xiarysse Emerenciana continued her big day at the plate in game two, going 2-for-2 with two RBI’s. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Sailfish walked off with a 4-3 win.

Panthers starter Melanie Murphy (9-7) deserved a better fate in this one, as she was victimized by three Panther errors, leading to four unearned runs.

West started game two much the way she did game one, with a leadoff single and a steal of second. Murphy left her stranded.

PBA (22-2, 15-0 SSC) broke through in the fourth. After Alexis Brown reached on an error, she was lifted for pinch-runner Brianna Rano. A double by Loren Kilgore got Rano to third and she scored on a sacrifice bunt by Maddie Biggs. Taylor Pennica was then called on to pinch hit and she struck the big blow, a two-run home run over the left field wall.

Down 3-0, the Panthers posted three runs of their own in the top of the fifth. Rubio led off the inning with a solo shot off PBA starter Ashton Adkins. After Victoria Szrom singled, Adkins was yanked in favor of Jana Wagner. Rachel Kraak was then called on to pinch-run for Szrom. After Alexus Smith walked, both runners were sacrificed by Shanysse Emerenciana’s bunt. Xiarysse Emerenciana chased them both home with a double down the left field line, tying the game at three.

Murphy got the first two outs in the seventh before plunking Carlton. A single by Michaela Hynes put the winning run at second and Brown hit a ball that the Panthers outfield couldn’t make the play on, allowing the winning run to score. An error was charged and the Sailfish escaped.

Busby, who relieved Wagner in the sixth got her second win of the day and 10th of the season.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Palm Beach Atlantic Box Score (Game 2)

The Panthers (21-17, 5-10 SSC) return home on Thursday to host Sunshine State Conference foe Rollins at 3:00 p.m. The series wraps up Friday with a doubleheader, beginning at 1:00 p.m.