Gronberg’s Slam Powers Panthers to Senior Day Split

James Gronberg – Photo credit: James Ragan Photography

After winning game one of the series on Thursday, The Florida Tech Panthers used a 12-run eighth inning in game one Friday, to propel them to a 20-9 win over visiting PBA in game one of the series concluding doubleheader. The home team missed their chance at a series sweep when the Sailfish bounced back with a 9-3 victory in game two.

Game one saw the Panthers pound out 18 hits, with James Gronberg going 3-for-6 with six RBIs, including a grand slam in the decisive eighth inning. Ryan Sinzenich and Kevin Capella went 3-for-4. Daniel Szpik and Capella both knocked in three runs apiece.

As lopsided as the final score was in game one, the Sailfish scored six runs in the first two innings, highlighted by an Evan Dougherty two-run double in the first and a grand slam by Ryan Johnson, his first home run with the sailfish, in his senior season.

All six runs were charged to Panthers starter Rhett Willis, who was done after two innings. The Panthers first run came in the bottom of the first, when Sinzenich scored on a wild pitch, to cut the deficit to 2-1 at the time.

Ryan Allain gave up two runs in his two innings of work, both coming in the fourth inning on a Danny Tufariello two-run single, extending PBA’s lead to 8-1.

Florida Tech took a big chunk out of the deficit with a five-run bottom of the fourth, four of the runs were charged to Sailfish starter Lance Fry. Capella, Jakob Newton, and Rodnie Bernard all singled, with Capella erased on a fielder’s choice and replaced by Raul Quintero. With the bases loaded, Gronberg plated two with a single, making it 8-3. After Gronberg stole second, Fry was replaced by Orsen Josephina.

Sinzenich walked to re-load the bases and Jacob Buser‘s RBI single made it 8-4. Szpik then singled home Gronberg and a sacrifice fly by Zac Orchard made it 8-6. A sac fly in the sixth by Szpik made it 8-7 and an RBI single in the seventh off the bat of Quintero scored Capella who tripled to lead off the inning. With that, it was a new game, tied 8-8.

Tufariello broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI double and Joey Hennessey came out of the Sailfish bullpen to start what would be a memorable eighth inning for the Panthers. Gronberg singled and went to second on a passed ball. He would come home on a Sinzenich single, knotting the game at nine.

After Buser singled, putting runners at the corners, Sean Horner made his way to the mound. A Szpik fielder’s choice gave the Panthers a 10-9 lead and a two-run single by Capella made it 12-9. Two consecutive walks made it 13-9 and loaded the bases for Gronberg, who promptly unloaded them with a grand slam, giving the Panthers a 17-9 advantage.

Capella drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning to make it 18-9 and Pierson Reynolds drove in the final two runs of the frame and the game, with a two-run single.

Colin Cristello earned the win in game one, throwing the final three innings, allowing two hits and a run. He struck out two batters and was the last of 11 pitchers used between the two teams, seven of them by PBA.

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

Between games, the Panthers honored Szpik, Drew Beyer, Michael Jenks, Ty Cohen, Sinzenich, Capella, Bay McIntosh and Zac Orchard, who were all wearing the Panthers home uniform for the final time.

Whalen got the start in game two and the Sailfish jumped on him early, scoring three runs in the top of the first. After walking two and hitting a batter to load the bases, Kyle Simon cleared them with a double.

Jake Lane relieved Whalen to start the second and he allowed three more runs, two coming on a home run by Marcos Perez, giving the visitors a 6-0 lead. PBA starter Mitchell Carroll gave up an unearned run in the second inning on a Newton groundout, making it 6-1.

The Sailfish (23-24, 11-16 SSC) added two more in the fifth inning on an Eddie Vicinanza two-run single and Hakeem Rhodes made the score 9-1 with an RBI in the sixth. Meanwhile, Carroll took a no-hitter into the sixth but Szpik ended the bid with a two-out single and Orchard followed with a single of his own, but they were left stranded. Szpik finished the second game with two of the Panthers four hits.

Florida Tech (17-27, 9-15 SSC) got their last two runs in the bottom of the ninth, with an RBI single off the bat of Quintero and another run-scoring groundout by Newton.

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

Finals week is upon us at Florida Tech and for that reason, the Panthers next series does not start until Sunday, May 6, at Barry. The doubleheader will get underway at 3:00 p.m. with the final game of the series taking place on Monday, at 2:00 p.m.