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Two Shutouts Help Panthers Sweep Series From FSC

Makayla Palmer – Photo credit: James Ragan Photography

The Florida Tech Panthers completed the weekend sweep of Florida Southern on Saturday, winning both ends of their softball doubleheader 3-0 and 4-0. This comes on the heels of a 3-1 win in Friday’s series opener. With the sweep, the Panthers have now won seven games in a row.

Makayla Palmer, who went 2-for-2 with an RBI on Friday, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in game one on Saturday and 1-for-3 with an RBI in game two. Rachel Kraak hit her first home run in a Panthers uniform in game two, a two-run shot in the second inning.

Melanie Murphy got the save in game one and pitched her second complete game of the weekend in game two.

McKenzie Krutsinger got the start in game one for the Panthers, going up against Moccasins starter Jenna Weldon. Shannon Bell got the first hit of the day against Krutsinger in the first inning of game one and she went on to have a 4-for-4 day in game one.

Each team left runners on the first couple innings, but the Panthers were first to get on the board, in the bottom of the third. Xiarysse Emerenciana started things with a single and an error on Weldon allowed Mikayla Wessel to reach. Emerenciana was then caught stealing and Wessel got to 2nd after a rundown.

After Jessica Callahan singled. Palmer continued her hot hitting in this series, chasing both baserunners home with a double, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

One inning later, the Panthers got an insurance run. Ally Carver singled and Kraak laid down a sac bunt that Florida Southern couldn’t record an out on, putting runners at first and second. Shanysse Emerenciana laid down a sac bunt of her own and although she wasn’t able to beat it out, both runners moved up.

Kristen Beacham was brought on to pitch and she struck out Xiary Emerenciana before giving up an RBI single to Wessel, upping the Panthers lead to 3-0. Wessel was later caught stealing to end the frame.

Krutsinger (8-7) allowed seven hits and struck out two in her 4.1 innings of work. She got the first out of the fifth before allowing back-to-back singles to Desirae Klumpp and Bell. That was enough for Panthers coach Val Silvestrini, who called on Murphy, who allowed just two hits on Friday.

Murphy got the final two outs in the fifth and kept Florida Southern off the board. The Panthers followed with a threat in the bottom of the inning, including another hit by Palmer. An error and a walk loaded the bases, but the Panthers couldn’t push another run home.

Florida Tech got had another chance in the sixth but came up empty. The only hit in the inning was a single by Rebecca Wilson.

Murphy allowed a hit in the sixth and two in the seventh, but she was able to close the door on the Mocs’, earning her third save of the year.

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

In game two, Murphy retired the first six batters she faced. In the bottom of the second, Florida Southern pitcher Aubrey Ehlers got the first two batters before walking Carver. Kraak made her pay in a big way, launching her first career home run over the wall in left-center and putting the Panthers up 2-0.

Florida Southern (23-18) had their chances, but they made some questionable decisions on the bases in a few innings that took them out of potential scoring opportunities. As an example, the Mocs’ got caught in a rundown in the top of the third that was scored 2-4-6-1-4-5-8.

Florida Tech (29-18, 13-11 SSC) put the game away in the fifth when Wessel reached on a fielder’s choice and Callahan was hit by a pitch. After an error allowed Wessel to steal a base and score the third run. Palmer’s RBI single scored Callahan to make it 4-0.

Murphy (15-7) worked in and out of a couple jams the rest of the way and the winning ways continued for FIT.

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

FIT has now won 21 of their last 28 games, after starting 7-11. They are back on the road next weekend to take on Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Friday’s series opener starts at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday’s doubleheader starts at noon.