Dillon McCollough and Andy Marzheuser put on a clinic on the mound Friday night in the opener of a Sunshine State Conference series in St. Petersburg. In the end, the Tritons scratched out two eighth-inning runs and hung on for a 2-1 win.
McCollough (3-0) set a new career-high in strikeouts with 15 and allowed the Panthers just four hits in his eight innings of work. Marzheuser (2-1) probably deserved a better fate, giving up five hits. He was charged with both runs after being relieved by Jake Lane in the eighth.
McCollough got going early, striking out the side in the top of the first. He would strike out two more in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth, one in the sixth, two in the seventh, and two in the eighth.
Pedro Rivera got the Panthers first hit in the third, an infield single. He would steal second but would go no further. Jakob Newton and Alec Eldridge would each single in the fifth, but as he did all night, McCollough got a strikeout when he needed it, ending the frame.
Eckerd (11-4, 3-1 SSC) would leave two runners on in the sixth, and two more in the seventh, before breaking through in the eighth. Keith Leavitt Jr. started the inning with a single and Nick Conti hit a ball up the middle that hit the lip of the grass and hopped over Rivera’s head and into center. An error on the play allowed Leavitt Jr. to go to third and that was the end of the night for Marzheuser.
He threw 7+ innings but did not record an out in the eighth. Lane would intentionally walk Garrett Hiott, loading the bases with one out. He then got Mitch Calandra to hit into a force at the plate, for the first out of the inning. Unfortunately, the Panthers luck would run out when Sam Cochrane singled down the line in left, scoring two runs.
Lane would record the next two outs, but the damage was done. Marzheuser (2-1) would see both runs go on his record, closing his book on a night that saw him record six strikeouts, walk two batters and throw 97 pitches, 62 strikes.
Florida Tech (5-7, 2-2 SSC) would get one run back in the ninth against Eckerd reliever Joey Favetta. Jacob Buser doubled and would eventually come home on a ground out by Blaise Maris, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Alec Eldridge came up with the tying run at second, but Favetta got him on three pitches to end the game.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Eckerd Box Score
The series wraps up on Saturday with a doubleheader. Game one is set to start at 1:00 p.m.