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Dominant Pitching Leads to Panthers Sweep

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Tina Velazquez allowed one hit in 5.2 innings on Saturday.

After beating Lee University and University of West Florida on Friday, the Panthers followed that up with wins over Molloy College and California University of Pennsylvania Saturday, day two of the NFCA Division II leadoff Classic. 

With the victories, the Panthers have now won five in a row, after losing two of their first three games. 

In Saturday morning’s game against the Lions of Molloy, Florida Tech starter Tina Velazquez struck out the side, leaving a runner at third. In the second inning Velazquez walked Tara Byrnes and she was knocked in when Alex Burns laced a triple to right. An RBI ground out by Lauren Ramos, made it 2-0. 

The triple to Burns would be the last hit that Velazquez allowed in her 5.2 innings of work. 

The Panthers got to Lions starter Jenna Turato in the fourth inning. Cheyenne Nelson led off with a walk and promptly stole second. She went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an ground out by Vanessa Rubio. After a double by Ally Carver, Alexus Smith went through a 10-pitch at bat, and worked a walk.  

Victoria Szrom followed with a walk to load the bases, prompting a pitching change. Shanysse Emerenciana welcomed Tonianne Larson with a double that cleared the bases. Emerenciana was credited with two RBIs on the play, as Szrom was able to come home on an error. With that, the Panthers were up 4-2. 

Nelson tried to manufacture an insurance run in the fifth after she was walked with one out. She stole second and third, but was ultimately stranded. Nelson finished with three steals in the game. 

After Velazquez gave up a one out walk in the fifth and the next batter reached on a fielders choice, Velazquez gave way to Melanie Murphy in the circle, who recorded the final out of the inning. 

Velazquez walked three and struck out three in her 5.2 innings of work, allowing just the one hit. She threw 78 pitches. Murphy gave up a one-out single in the seventh, walking one and striking out two in 1.1 innings. She threw 20 pitches.  

For more info: Florida Tech @ Molloy Box Score 

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Florida Tech beat California University of PA in game two.

With just 30 minutes to savor the win, the Panthers were back on the field to take on California University of Pennsylvania in their second game of the day and the offense wasted no time getting going. 

Xiarysse Emerenciana led off with a bunt single. After she stole second, she was sacrificed to third by Nelson. Velazquez reached on a fielder’s choice and then stole second. Rubio’s fielder’s choice got the Panthers on the board and an error that allowed Ally Carver to reach, allowed Velazquez to come home with the second run. 

A double steal was then implemented, with Rubio swiping home and Carver stealing second, giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead. An RBI ground out by Szrom and an RBI single by Shanysse Emerenciana got the Panthers lead up to five. 

Lawlis worked in and out of trouble in the first two innings, leaving two runners on in each frame.  

The Panthers offense went back to work in the fourth inning. With runners at second and third, Nelson hit a ball to left that Sierra Besser-Paul dropped.  

The error allowed Lexi Bettermann and Shanysse Emerenciana to score, making it 7-0. The final Florida Tech run would come when Velazquez doubled Nelson home. 

Lawlis (1-0) would give up one hit in the fourth and  one more in the fifth, but the Vulcans never threatened in those innings. She would give up five hits over her five innings of work, walking one and striking out two. She threw 72 pitches. 

For more info: Florida Tech @ California University of Pennsylvania Box Score 

The tournament wraps up Sunday when the Panthers take on Lenoir-Rhyne. The first pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.