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Panthers Split Softball Doubleheader With Tars

The Florida Tech Panthers had just three hits in game one of their doubleheader, losing 4-3 but bounced back in game two when the offense exploded for 11 hits, winning 7-0 and gaining a split with Rollins. Game two starter Melanie Murphy pitched her second complete game in as many days, getting her second shutout in that span.

Game one went the way of the Tars, who took advantage of three Panthers errors, one of them leading to the eventual winning run in the fifth inning. Vanessa Rubio had two of the Panthers three hits

Florida Tech got on the board first in the bottom of the first frame, against Summers. Xiarysse Emerenciana reached on an error and later looked to score from second on a double by Jessica Callahan. Unfortunately, Emerenciana was nabbed at the plate on a great throw from right field, by Sarah Harrison. Callahan did score later in the inning on an RBI single by Rubio.

The Tars threatened in the top of the second against Panthers starter McKenzie Krutsinger and looked to tie the game on an RBI single by Harrison, only to have her called out on batter’s interference and instead of a tie game, the Tars were done in the inning.

Krutsinger immediately ran into trouble in the third as a bunt single a walk and an error loaded the bases for the visitors. Grace Street’s sac fly tied the game and after a walk loaded the bases again, Abigail Sexton stroked a single to right, plating two and giving Rollins a 3-1 lead. Krutsinger was lifted in favor of Amanda Kahn, who got the next two outs and got the Panthers out of the inning. Krutsinger went 2.1 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits. She walked two and did not strike out a batter.

The Panthers answered in the bottom of the third. Mikayla Wessel walked and Callahan reached on a fielder’s choice. Makayla Palmer then reached on fielder’s choice, as the Tars tried to get Wessel at third. The late throw loaded the bases. Rubio then hit one to right field that drifted into foul territory before it was caught, scoring Wessel and a double steal pulled off by Palmer and Callahan worked to perfection, as Carver tied the game, sliding home ahead of the tag. With that, Florida Tech scored two runs in the inning without a hit.

The first two batters reached base for the Tars in the top of the fourth, but the Emerenciana twins worked their double play magic and kept the Tars off the board. They would, however, get that

 run in the top of the fifth. Street singled and was sacrificed to second. She scored one out later, thanks to a Panthers error.

Shanysse Emerenciana, who combined with Xiarysse to turn that double play in the fourth, showed her individual talents a shortstop, making a great Ozzie Smith-like play in the top of the seventh. The Panthers defense also recorded an out at the plate later in the inning, keeping it a one-run game.

Florida Tech was unable to get the tying run in the bottom of the seventh, as Grace Street completed her three innings of relief work with a 1-2-3 inning.

For more info: Rollins @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)

Game two went much better for the Panthers, as they got to Summers early and often, pounding out 11 hits, led by Ally Carver‘s 3-for-4 Day. Murphy allowed four hits, striking out four and did not walk a batter. She lowered her conference-leading earned run average to 1.09.

Florida Tech (23-18, 7-11 SSC) got on the board in the bottom of the third, against starter Grace Street. Shanysse Emerenciana was hit by a pitch and later scored on a Wessel single. They added another run when Xiarysse Emerenciana scored on Callahan’s bunt single.

FIT broke things open in the fourth. Alexus Smith doubled with one out and came home on a double by Shanysse Emerenciana, giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead. Wessel’s bunt hit later in the inning loaded the bases and Callahan smoked a two-run single to right, making it 5-0.

Murphy (11-7) retired 10 straight at one point, before Talia Kentoffio’s single in the fifth, she stole second but was picked off trying to steal third, ending the inning.

Summers came in to pitch the sixth. Pinch-hitter Alaina Perry got a rise out of the crowd with a long fly ball that looked like it was at least going to be an extra-base hit, only to have Harrison rob her of a hit, with a great catch. After Callahan walked, pinch-hitter Ashley Campbell got her first hit in a Panthers uniform. Lexi Bettermann walked and a two-run single by Carver got the Panthers their final two runs.

For more info: Rollins @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)

Florida Tech travels to Nova Southeastern for a weekend series, beginning Friday night with a 6:00 p.m. game. Saturday’s doubleheader will start at 1:00 p.m.