The Florida Tech Panthers hosted Southwest Minnesota State in a doubleheader Monday. beating the Mustangs 15-1 and 6-3. The game one victory was in the books in five innings, and it was the Panthers 20th win of the season.
Game two was added just prior to the start of game one. Originally this was just a single game on the schedule, but the schools got together and decided to play two.
Melanie Murphy, who threw 252 pitches in two games over the weekend at Tampa, was back in the circle for game one and it was thankfully a very quick day for her, as the Panthers offense cranked things up in a hurry, scoring six runs in the first inning.
The damage was done against Mustangs starter Shelby Crank (0-1), as FIT sent 10 batters to the plate. Cheyenne Nelson and Xiarysse Emerenciana hit back-to-back infield singles and Tina Velazquez reached on an error, bringing Nelson home. A bunt single by Vanessa Rubio made it 2-0 and after a Jaden Kline walk, Ally Carver scored Velazquez on a ground out.
Rubio would score the fourth run as she reached on a fielder’s choice and Mikayla Wessel‘s two-run single made it 6-0. The Panthers would add two more in the second inning on a Kline RBI single and an error that allowed Katrina Hand to score the eighth run.
That was more than enough for Murphy, who exited after three innings with the 8-0 lead. She allowed two hits, no runs and struck out three. She threw 36 pitches, 26 for strikes.
A walk and two singles led to the Panthers loaded the bases in the bottom of the third. A sac fly by Xiarysse scored Shanysse, making it 9-0. A Velazquez ground out made it 10-0, a hand RBI single was followed a double off the wall in center by Kline, making it 12-0. Shanysse Emerenciana would come up for the second time in the inning, plating another run with an RBI single, and Wessel’s two-run single capped the Panthers scoring, giving them a 15-0 lead.
Jordan Lawlis would come in to pitch the fourth and the Mustangs got on the board after an RBI ground out by Alex Reak. Lawlis would get the final out on the fourth and pitch a clean fifth, giving the Panthers the run-rule win, allowing only three SMSU runners to reach base in the process.
The Panthers had 11 hits in game one, led by Wessel’s 3-for-3 day that included four RBIs. Kline ended the day 2-for-2 with two RBIs and Nelson was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
For more info: Southwest Minnesota State @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)
Florida Tech (21-6) picked up where they left off, putting two on the board in the bottom of the first inning against Mustangs pitcher Athena Golling. An error and a hit by pitch got things started and a double steal from Xiary and Velazquez got them to second and third. A sac fly by Rubio made it 1-0 and an error that allowed Kline to reach gave the Panthers their second run.
The bottom of the second started with Alexus Smith reaching on an error. She would then get to second on the throw. A single by Shany Emerenciana turned into another error, allowing Smith to score the third run.
A groundout by Xiary would score Shany and give the Panthers a 4-0 lead.
The Mustangs (4-4) would do their damage in the top of the third against Velazquez, who started game two for the Panthers. An RBI double by Bailey Johnson, an RBI groundout by Madysson Schliinz and an RBI double by Kali Tomlinson made it a 4-3 game.
Velazquez would finish the inning but would move to first in the top of the fourth, giving way to Murphy in the circle. Velazquez pitched three innings, allowing three runs on four hits. She struck out six, walking only one, and threw 40 of her 56 pitches for strikes.
Florida Tech picked up an insurance run in the fourth, with Rubio’s RBI groundout, scoring Nelson to make it 5-3.
The Panthers would tack on in the bottom of the sixth. Xiary would triple with two outs and Velazquez would walk. With that, the Panthers went back to the double steal, and pulled it off, with Velazquez heading for second and giving Xiary the time she needed to come home with the final run of the day for the Panthers.
Velazquez picked up the win to improve her record to 8-1. Murphy pitched four innings in relief, giving up one hit and nothing more. She threw 52 pitches, 35 for strikes. That performance was enough for her third save of the season.
Xiary Emerenciana went 2-for-4 in game two, finishing the day 3-for-5 in the two games combined.
For more info: Southwest Minnesota State @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
The Panthers will get back into Sunshine State Conference play with a weekend series against Embry-Riddle in Daytona. Friday’s series opener will start at 4:00 p.m.