The early season success continued for the Florida Tech Panthers on Friday as they beat the Lynn Fighting Knights 2-1, in game one of a three-game series. The loss snapped the Fighting Knights seven-game win streak, and extended the Panthers win streak to seven.
Ally Carver and Lexi Bettermann each went 2-for-3, combining for four of the Panthers six hits.
An RBI double by Cheyenne Nelson in the top of the fifth gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead and brilliant starting pitching from Melanie Murphy, along with a solid seventh inning from Tina Velazquez in relief, gave the Panthers a win in their first Sunshine State Conference game of the season.
Lynn starter Kayla Sheffield, who came into the game with a 5-0 record and an earned run average of 0.40, didn’t have her best stuff on this day and the Panthers took advantage from the start.
Xiarysse Emerenciana reached on an error and stole second. Velazquez would bring her home with an RBI ground out later in the inning, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Murphy (3-2) gave up two singles in the bottom of the inning and overcame an error to get out of the bottom of the first. She struck out Elizabeth Diaz to end the threat.
Lynn (8-3, 0-1 SSC) threatened again in the bottom of the third, but with runners at first and second, Sophia Devesa hit a liner to third that Alexus Smith made a diving play on and tagged the bag at third, while still on the ground. That play would loom large, as it kept the Fighting Knights off the board.
The Panthers (8-2, 1-0 SSC) got a run in the fifth when Bettermann led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Emerenciana. She would score easily on a double off the left field wall by Nelson.
The Fighting Knights got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. Devesa singled and one out later, Natalie Costero hit one to third that Smith fielded but threw wildly to first, allowing Devesa to score and cut the Panthers lead to 2-1.
Murphy gave the Panthers six innings of one run softball, scattering six hits. The run was unearned. She struck out four and did not walk a batter, throwing 96 pitches (69 strikes).
Velazquez came in and hit Mia Veliz to start the inning. Britney Purser was retired on a fielder’s xhoice, but Veliz speed allowed her to get to third, now with one out. Velazquez got Sheffield to pop to second and ended the game with a strikeout of Shayle Arenson. With that, Velazquez nailed down her fourth save of the young season.
For more info: Florida Tech @Lynn Box Score
The series continues Saturday afternoon as the two teams play a doubleheader in Boca Raton. Game one is at noon.