The 14th-ranked Florida Tech softball team earned their second five-game tournament sweep of the season on Sunday with wins over Flager College, 6-1 and Georgia College, 6-5 on the final day of the Florida Tech Invitational at the USSSA Complex in Viera, FL.
Their other weekend tournament sweep came happened February 8-10 in the NFCA Division II Leadoff Classic in Clearwater. The Panthers haven’t lost since February 3rd when they lost to the number one team in the country, in Angelo State. The Rambelles are the only team to beat the Panthers this season, with both losses, coming on the opening weekend, both by 4-3 scores.
The Panthers got an early lead in both games on Sunday, but there was a major scare in the second game, as Georgia College mounted a seventh-inning rally that saw them score three runs and get the tying run to third and the go-ahead run to second before Panthers starter Melanie Murphy got Darby Pinkard to ground out, ending the game.
With the two wins on Sunday, the Panthers improved to 15-2 overall and extended their winning streak to 14 games.
Tina Velazquez (5-0) got the start in game one against Flagler, allowing seven hits. She kept the Saints off the board until the seventh inning. She worked in and out of trouble in the first few innings, stranding a runner at third in the first and allowing a single and a double in the third, but worked out of that jam.
Shanysse Emerenciana changed that with one swing of the bat, leading off the bottom of the third with a solo shot off of Saints starter Kyra Gipson. It was her second home run in two days, as she hit a three-run round-tripper Saturday in the Panthers 8-2 win over Converse.
Emerenciana would start things again in the fifth with a single. She was sacrificed to second and went to third on a double by Cheyenne Nelson. Xiarysse Emerenciana knocked her sister in with a single and went to second on the late throw home, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead. Velazquez would help her own cause at the plate, as she drilled the first pitch she saw out of the yard, extending the Panthers lead to five.
Alayna Savaglio relieved Gipson after the long ball and after retiring the first batter she faced, she gave up a single to Jaden Kline, who moved to second on a wild pitch. Savaglio got a strikeout to end the inning and avoid further damage.
The Panthers final run of the day came in the sixth. Alexus Smith singled and was lifted for pinch-runner Melinda Rule. After Shanysse was hit by a pitch, pinch-hitter Victoria Szrom moved both runners up with a deep fly ball to left. Nelson then walked to load the bases and Xiarysse was hit by a pitch, forcing in the sixth run.
Flagler (8-9) scored their only run of the game on an RBI single in the seventh, by Morgan Murphy. Velazquez had four strikeouts in the complete game performance, throwing 100 pitches.
The Emerernciana twins had a good day at the plate, as Shanysse was 2-for-2 in game one, scoring two runs and knocking in one with her home run. Xiarysse ended the day 1-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs. Velazquez was 1-for-4 with the three-run blast.
For more info: Flagler @ Florida Tech Box Score
After throwing a perfect game on Saturday, Murphy had a three-run lead on Sunday, before she even took her place in the circle for game two, against the Bobcats. Nelson greeted Georgia College starter Jessie Morris with a triple. The ball was bobbled in left field and Nelson alertly came home with the games first run.
Velazquez singled and when Vanessa Rubio dropped down a bunt, Velazquez alertly went to third and Rubio to second, after a rundown. Rubio was credited with a double, putting runners at second and third. Kline then reached on an error, the second of five on the day for the Bobcats. That allowed Velazquez to score the second run and ended the day for Morris, who was relieved by Rebecca Lawrence. The Panthers final run of the inning came on an Alexus Smith sac fly.
The Bobcats (13-8) made it a one-run game in the second, when Ariel Edenfield doubled, scoring Amber Coy and Jessie Barre.
The Panthers got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Xiarysse knocked in Lexi Bettermann, who led the inning off with a single. That made it 4-2. They would add another run in the third, helped by an error and a passed ball. An RBI single by Shanysse scored Smith, making it a 5-2 game.
In the fifth, the Panthers got a single from Rubio, who was replaced by pinch-runner Katrina Hand. Kline doubled, getting Hand to third, but she was later thrown out at home on a ball hit by Ally Carver. A second successful sac fly by Smith made it 6-2.
That run would prove to be huge because Georgia College rallied in the seventh, getting consecutive singles from Barre, Edenfield and Caroline Snider to load the bases with one out. An RBI single from Sarah Couch made it 6-3 and after Lindsey Puckett lined out, Haley Howell cut the lead to one with a two-run single.
With runners now at second and third, Murphy got the ground out by Pinkard to preserve the Panthers winning streak and pick up the teams’ 15th win of the season. Murphy allowed nine hits and five earned runs, against a good Bobcats squad. She struck out three and walked two, throwing 72 of her 101 pitches for strikes.
For more info: Georgia College @ Florida Tech Box Score
The Panthers will return home to host Saint Leo in a key Sunshine State Conference series starting with a 2:00 game on Friday. The Panthers will likely be ranked higher than 14th in the NCAA Coaches Poll by then. Angelo State lost three times this weekend and have five losses overall. They will drop from that #1 spot.