The Florida Tech Panthers opened their 2019 baseball season on Friday against the visiting North Georgia Nighthawks. The home team led twice, before dropping a 4-2 decision at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field.
Junior Raul Quintero was the only Florida Tech player with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a double.
Florida Tech (0-1) had multiple chances in this game, including in the first inning when they left senior James Gronberg at third. They did get one across in the second when freshman Alec Eldridge led off with a single against North Georgia starter starter Cade Heil. He came home on a triple by sophomore Jakob Newton, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Senior hurler Andy Marzheuser got the start for the Panthers and did well until the top of the fifth when Chase Sudduth’s RBI single brought home Crews Taylor, who tripled earlier in the frame, tying the game at one.
The Panthers came right back in the bottom of the inning starting with a double from Quintero. He would later score on sophomore Dylan Owens RBI single. It was the first hit and first RBI for Owens in a Florida Tech uniform.
Marzheuser left with a 2-1 lead, going five innings, giving up one run on four hits. He walked three and struck out five, throwing 54 of his 85 pitches for strikes. Senior Jake Lane started the sixth and came out firing, striking out the first two batters he faced.
Nick Clarno and Joshua Profit hit back-to-back singles and in an effort to get the out at third, junior left fielder Vincenzo Catanza threw the ball over everybody and Clarno scored to tie things at two. William Mapes RBI single gave the Nighthawks their first lead of the night.
After a passed ball and a walk, Lane was visited by the trainer and coach Greg Berkemeier, who decided to take him out of the game. Lane (0-1) threw just 21 pitches, giving up three hits and two runs, one earned. He walked one and struck out two, giving way to junior Jordan Murray.
The Panthers had another golden chance slip through their fingers in the bottom of the sixth. Catanza and Quintero each had infield singles with two outs and Gronberg walked to load the bases. Senior Jacob Buser, who was the Panthers big hitter last season, came up empty swinging through strike three. This after being intentionally walked in his two previous at bats.
North Georgia (1-0) would add a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Jake Arnold, giving them a two-run cushion.
Florida Tech went down in order in the eighth and had to face closer Parker Morrison in the ninth. He faced the top of the Panthers order and sent them all down on strikes.
For more info: North Georgia @ Florida Tech Box Score
The Panthers will look to even the series on Saturday when these two teams meet again at 6:00 p.m.