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Late ASU Long Ball Dooms Panthers

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Photo credit: Cindy Rieber

For the second straight day, the Angelo State Rambelles came from behind to beat Florida Tech 4-3, as part of the Florida Tech Softball Classic. 

Vanessa Rubio continued her torrid weekend at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Cheyenne Nelson went 2-for-3 with a double and she got the Panthers going with that double in the first inning. She was knocked in when Tina Velazquez singled to left, giving Florida Tech a 1-0 lead. 

Velazquez was in the circle to start the game and she pitched the first three innings, before giving way to Melanie Murphy to start the 4th. Murphy started Saturday’s season opening game against Angelo State and threw 134 pitches. She backed that up with a 20-pitch save later in the day against Palm Beach Atlantic. 

Murphy (0-2) found trouble immediately, hitting Ashlyn Lerma. She stole second and went to third on a Courtney Barnhill single. After Barnhill stole second, Taylor Fogle singled, driving in two and giving the visitors a 2-1 lead.  

Florida Tech (1-2) answered in the bottom of the fifth. Xiarysse Emerenciana reached on a fielder’s choice and Nelson was hit by a pitch. After Velazquez reached on another fielder’s choice, Melinda Rule came in to pinchrun for her and immediately stole second. Rubio came up and did what she does, driving in two with a single and giving the Panthers a 3-2 lead. 

The Panthers held that lead until the seventh inning. Murphy hit Jade Strother and followed that up with a wild pitch. After Logan Graham struck out, Avery Zeigler, who came on as a pinch-hitter in the fifth, took Murphy deep and just like that, it was 4-3. 

After giving up two more hits, Murphy was pulled and Velazquez came back in to pitch. She would get the final two outs of the inning, helped by Emerenciana’s sparkling leaping catch to rob Hatty Shope of a hit and retire the side. 

Murphy ended up pitching 3.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits. She struck out four and walked one, throwing 79 total pitches (55 strikes). 

Velazquez did well in her 3.2 innings of work, allowing just two hits. She did walk four batters, while striking out five. She threw 72 pitches, 42 for strikes. 

Florida Tech had one more opportunity in the bottom of the seventh. Rubio drew a walk and Ally Carver drew a walk as a pinch-hitter. Unfortunately the Panthers couldn’t capitalize, as Mikayla Wessell struck out to end the game. 

For more info: Angelo State @ Florida Tech Box Score 

The Panthers beat Barry later in the day on Sunday, completing the Florida Tech Softball Classic.