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Panthers Win Eighth Straight

Jacob Buser – Sports Lowdown photo Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown

The Florida Tech Panthers earned their eighth straight win on Tuesday, beating the Winona State Warriors 8-2 at Andy-Seminick-Les Hall Field.

Jacob Buser extended his hitting streak to 11 games during his 3-for-5 day at the plate, driving in a team-high three runs for the Panthers. Jakob Newton also went 3-for-5 driving in two runs, and James Gronberg went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.

The first three innings went quickly in this one, as FIT starter Rhett Willis and Warriors starter Brett Herber matched outs. Buser and Gronberg each had hits in the third, but Herber got out of it.

The Warriors (6-5) broke through in the fourth inning, loading the bases for Derek Martin, who hit a ball to Raul Quintero at third. He came home with a high throw, allowing one run to score. Catcher Blaise Maris chased the ball down and threw to Willis covering to cut down a second run.

Willis, who threw five perfect innings in his last start, did not make it to the fifth on this day. He left after four, giving way to Justin Lorenz. Willis gave up an unearned run on three hits and struck out two. He did not walk a batter, throwing 34 of his 55 pitches for strikes.

Florida Tech (13-7) answered back in the bottom of the fifth, coming up with four runs while sending nine men to the plate. Gronberg’s RBI single brought home Pedro Rivera who singled earlier in the inning. With runners at second and third, Buser landed a big blow with a single to right field that Mitchell Seager made a diving attempt on. He trapped it and two runs scored, making it 3-1. A single by Newton brought home the fourth run.

Jacob Watzka came in to pitch the sixth for the Warriors and the Panthers picked up where they left off in the fifth. Quintero singled and came home on a triple by Rivera that went over the right fielder’s head. Gronberg walked, stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch, as Rivera sprinted home with the sixth run. RBI singles from Buser and Newton, made it 8-1.

Lorenz (2-1) got through the sixth, giving up one hit in three innings of work. He threw 16 pitches, 11 for strikes. Andrew Giddens pitched the seventh, giving up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Chad Herbst, closing the gap to 8-2.

The Panthers loaded the bases in the seventh, but Buser flew out to end the inning. The big news in that frame was an apparent injury to Rodnie Bernard. He reached on a fielder’s choice, but came up limping and was taken out for pinch-runner Alec Eldridge. While we will not speculate on the possibility of an injury, Bernard is the Panthers leading hitter at this point, hitting .421 in 18 games. He would leave a gaping hole at the top of the lineup if he misses any time.

For more info: Winona State @ Florida Tech Box Score

Florida Tech goes back into conference play on Friday, traveling to Fort Lauderdale, to take on Nova Southeastern. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.