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Panthers Take Down Sailfish in Series Opener

James Gronberg – Sports Lowdown Photo

The Florida Tech Panthers got their final home series of the season off on the right foot Thursday, beating the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish 6-4 at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field.

The Panthers (16-26, 8-14 SSC) had eight hits as a team with all eight coming from different players. Ty Cohen (5-4) pitched six innings of five-hit baseball, allowing four runs (three earned), walking three and striking out eight in his 95-pitch performance.

James Gronberg got the Panthers on the board, leading off the bottom of the first with a home run off PBA starter Mikhail Cazenave. He was the first of four straight Panthers to reach base, as Ryan Sinzenich walked and Jacob Buser and Daniel Szpik singled, loading the bases. Zac Orchard‘s sac fly made it 2-0 and an error allowed Kevin Capella to reach and Buser to score the Panthers third run.

The Sailfish (22-23) got on the board in the top of the third with an RBI single off the bat of Danny Tufariello. Tufariello would single again in the fifth as part of a three-run inning that gave the visitors a 4-3 lead.

Gronberg got things started in the bottom of the fifth, drawing a walk. After Sinzenich singled to put runners at the corners, Buser struck out. Szpik picked him up with an RBI groundout, tying the game at four. Orchard came through again with a double, scoring Sinzenich and giving the Panthers a 5-4 lead.

Gronberg, who finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored at the plate, did his part on defense too. In the top of the sixth, Hakeem Rhodes hit a deep ball to left-center field. Gronberg flagged it down, making a highlight-reel catch to save a home run and save the Panthers slim lead.

After Raul Quintero singled to start the bottom of the sixth, Cazenave got the hook, in favor of Christian Denton. After Quintero stole second, Jakob Newton singled to get him to third. Gronberg would chase him home one out later with an RBI groundout, giving the Panthers a 6-4 lead.

Matt DiNenna took the mound in the seventh replacing Cohen. He would strike out the side in the inning, allowing just one hit. Andrew Beyer would pitch the final two innings, striking out three batters of his own and picking up his fifth save.

For more info: Palm Beach Atlantic @ Florida Tech Box Score

The series wraps up with a doubleheader at noon on Friday. Senior Day festivities will also take place.