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Panthers Hand Argos First Loss

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Shanysse Emerenciana‘s third inning home run was the difference in Friday’s game.

The Florida Tech Panthers got stellar pitching and a solo homer off the bat of Shanysse Emerenciana to take down previously unbeaten West Florida 1-0 Friday Night in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. 

The victory completed a two-win day for the Panthers, who beat Lee 7-2 earlier in the day. 

Melanie Murphy, who threw the first four innings against Lee was right back out there in the nightcap, going six innings against West Florida, throwing a two-hit shutout. 

Things got off to a shaky start for Murphy, as she hit two of the first three batters and walked another. Rachel Wright, who led off with a walk, was called out for leaving early. Murphy battled back to induce an infield fly and got Callan Taylor to ground out with the bases loaded, ending the inning. 

West Florida (4-1) would regret not doing damage in that first inning because after Mika Garcia got the second hit of the night in the second inning, Murphy did not give up another knock. She walked a batter in the third and got the Argos in order in the final three innings she pitched. 

Offensively, the Panthers were retired in order by Grace Gilbert, but in the third she got the first out before giving up the long ball to Emerenciana, giving the Panthers a lead they would not relinquish. Lexi Bettermann followed the Emerenciana homer with a single, but Gilbert worked out of the inning without further damage. 

Things were quiet on both sides until the top of the seventh. Tina Velazquez took over for Murphy in the circle after Murphy (2-2) threw 85 pitches 54 for strikes. She walked two and struck out one, picking up her second win of the day. 

The Argos got a single to start the inning from Ally Merrill, and she was lifted for a pinch-runner. After a sacrifice bunt got Sara Spears to second, Garcia walked and both runners moved up on a ground out, putting them at second and third with two outs. 

Leadoff batter Rachel Wright came up with a chance to at least tie things up, but Velazquez got ahead of her 1-2 and got her to fly out to end the game. 

With the victory, the Panthers moved to 4-2 and they have now won three in a row. 

For more info: West Florida @ Florida Tech Box Score 

The tournament continues Saturday with games against Molloy College at 10:00 a.m. and California University of Pennsylvania at noon.