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Ninth Inning Blast Seals Wingate Victory

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Florida Tech dropped a heartbreaker to Wingate on Friday night

A two-run home run to deep left field by Tyler Schneider helped the Wingate Bulldogs snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on Friday, hanging on for a 7-6 victory. The loss dropped the Panthers to 1-4 on the season, all at Andy-Seminick Les Hall Field. 

The Panthers, who beat Valdosta State in the early game, was three outs away from picking up their second win of the day, but Schneider had other ideas. 

Rodnie Bernard went 4-for-4 against VSU and backed that up with a 3-for-5 showing in the nightcap as the Panthers had to battle back from an early deficit. 

Wingate (5-2) got off to a fast start with three runs in the top of the first against Florida Tech starter Colin Cristello. The big blow was a two run home run by Reece Daniel. A sac fly by Jed Bryant made it 3-0. 

Florida Tech got a run back in the third when Dylan Owens, who singled to lead off the inning scored on an error later in the frame. Cristello would get through for innings, before giving way to Joshua Lorenz to start the fifth. Cristello (0-1) gave up six hits and three runs, walked three and struck out seven. He threw 95 pitches. 

Lorenz would get the first out of the fifth, before giving up a solo shot to Bryant, giving the visitors a 4-1 lead. 

Vinny Catanza doubled to start the bottom of the fifth against Wingate starter David Nash. A single by Raul Quintero put runners at the corners and James Gronberg was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Riley Edwards was then summoned from the Bulldogs bullpen and he promptly threw one in the dirt, allowing Catanza to score and cut the lead to 4-2. 

A sacrifice fly by Jacob Buser made it a one-run game and the Panthers tied it up after another pitching change, on another sac fly by Jakob Newton

Wingate regained the lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Daniel, only to see the Panthers battle back to get two in the bottom of the frame. Pedro Rivera walked and went to second on a passed ball one out later. He would score on a Quintero double, knotting it up at five. Owens RBI single would give the Panthers their first lead of the night. The game would stay that way until the top of the ninth. 

Daniel would lead off with a single to left but be replaced by Tanner Forry, who reached on an error. That would bring Schneider to the plate and he left no doubt with a deep blast to left, giving the visitors a 7-6 lead. 

In the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Pierson Reynolds would get the count to 3-1, but he would strike out swinging against Lane Wildman. Catanza would work a similar 3-1 count, before he flew out to end the game. 

For more info: Wingate @ Florida Tech Box Score 

Florida Tech will now have a couple days off, before hosting Barry on Monday in a regional matchup. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.