Marzheuser Magical in Panthers Win

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Rodnie Bernard went 3-for-4 in the Panthers 6-5 win over VSU on Friday.

The Florida Tech baseball team withstood a furious late rally from Valdosta State Friday and hung on to pick up their first win of the season, a 6-5 triumph at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field. It was the first loss of the season for the Blazers. 

Florida Tech (1-3) got on the board early and was backed up by a great performance by Andy Marzheuser, who gave up two unearned runs over six innings of work, striking out 11 Blazers in the process. He struck out the side in the first and again in the fifth. 

Raul Quintero got the Panthers going in the bottom of the first with a leadoff single against Valdosta starter Jonathan Gettys. It was his only hit of the day, but he now has a hit in all four games. After a James Gronberg single, two consecutive passed balls allowed Quintero to score. An RBI double by Jacob Buser made it 2-0, and an RBI single later in the inning by Rodnie Bernard gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead. 

Valdosta State (5-1) got a run back in the top of the third, thanks in large part to two Panthers errors on a Jowenrick Daantji single that was fielded and thrown around by the Panthers. 

The Panthers would strike for three more in the bottom of the inning. Gronberg and Buser would draw consecutive walks and pull of a double steal. Bernard would pick up his second RBI of the day with a single and Jakob Newton would then be hit by a pitch with one out, loading the bases.  

Alec Eldridge would reach on an error, allowing one run to score, giving the home team a 5-1 lead. The Panthers final run would come when Pedro Rivera drew a walk, giving Florida Tech a five-run cushion. They would need every bit of it. 

Florida Tech had a good chance to add a run in the bottom of the fifth, when Newton doubled and Bernard followed with a single. A great throw by the left fielder cut Newton down at the plate.  Bernard finished the day 3-for-4, leading the Panthers eight hit day

The Blazers were helped by another error in the sixth, allowing the second run of the day to score. Marzheuser retired the next two batters, including picking up his 11th strikeout to end the inning, and keep the score 6-2. 

Marzheuser (1-0) gave way to Justin Barney in the seventh, after a stellar effort that saw him allow seven hits and throw 72 of his 101 pitches for strikes. 

Two hits and a ground out put runners at second and third in the seventh. Mack Hathcock laid down a bunt that Blaise Maris fielded from behind the plate and threw the ball wildly to first, allowing two runs to score and cutting the Panthers lead to 6-4, leaving the bases loaded. It was the fourth error of the day committed by the Panthers. 

A Jon Jon Burkett sac fly tied the game in the top of the eighth, setting up an exciting top of the ninth. With Jordan Murray on the mound, VSU loaded the bases with nobody out. Buser then robbed Mike Christopoulos with a great defensive play at first. After an intentional walk loaded the bases for the second time in the inning, Noah Wilkes hit into a game-ending double play, ending a tenuous game for the Panthers. 

For more info: Valdosta State @ Florida Tech Box Score 

The Panthers will play their second game of the day tonight at 6:00 p.m., against Wingate University at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field.