Alexus Smith hit a home run in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader against Embry-Riddle. James Ragan Photography

The Florida Tech Panthers finished a productive weekend in Daytona Saturday, with a split of a doubleheader against Embry-Riddle. After losing game one 8-1, the Panthers took game two, 5-3. The end result is a series win, taking two of three conference games against the Eagles.

Game one saw the Panthers go up early, as Vanessa Rubio, had two RBIs in the Panthers win on Friday, picked up right where she left off, as she drove in Cheyenne Nelson to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Nelson singled to start the game and went 2-for-4 at the plate.

Mariana Pereira got that run back in the bottom of the inning, against Panthers starter Tina Velazquez, driving in Lisa Hop with a single. A solo home run by Katy Thompson made it 2-1 Embry-Riddle.

Velazquez ran into trouble in the third inning giving up a bunt single to Maggie Scott, an infield single to Hop, and walking Pereira to load the bases. She then hit Thompson, driving in the Eagles third run.

ERAU would put the game away in the bottom of the fifth, striking for five runs. A walk to Pereira and a single by Thompson got things going, and an RBI single by Michy Ramos made it 4-1. An error led to another run, and that prompted a change in the circle, as Jordan Lawlis came in to relieve Velazquez.

An RBI single by Jamie Mead and a two-run single by Lia Johnson capped the scoring.

Velazquez (8-2) took the loss, allowing seven earned runs and nine hits in four innings of work. She walked three and struck out two, throwing 84 pitches (51 strikes.

Lawlis pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits and walking two. She threw 16 of her 33 pitches for strikes.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Embry-Riddle Box Score (Game 1)

Jaden Kline got the Panthers offense going in the third, leading off the inning with a triple. She scored on a sacrifice fly by Shanysse Emerenciana. Alexus Smith followed with a solo home run, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

Melanie Murphy (11-5) took her spot in the circle for game two and she retired 10 of the first 12 batters she faced, before hitting Thompson with a pitch. She bounced back nicely, getting Ramos to line into a double play to end the fourth.

Melanie Murphy

Florida Tech (23-7, 7-5 SSC) added to their lead in the fifth. Katie Maiello started the frame with a double and after being sacrificed to third by Nelson, Maiello was chased home by Xiarysse Emerenciana, who singled up the middle, making it 3-0.

ERAU (13-11, 6-6 SSC) got two runs back in the bottom of the inning, thanks to an RBI single by Callie Rodriguez, who came home with the second run when Scott hit a triple.

The home team would tie things up in the bottom of the sixth, when Ramos brought Pereira home with an RBI double, making it 3-3.

Hop, who pitched game one, was called on to pitch the seventh for the Eagles and she ran into trouble immediately. Mikayla Wessel singled and stole second, moving to third on a sac bunt by Maiello. Nelson’s double later in the inning made it 4-3. She would score the final run on a single down the line in left by Rubio. Pinch-runner Rachel Kraak was thrown out at third, but the Panthers had the lead, 5-3.

Murphy walked Rodriguez to start the seventh but came back to retire the next three, including striking out Pereira, who never took the bat off her shoulder. The Panthers ace went seven innings, giving four hits and three runs. She walked two and struck out four, throwing 69 of her 97 pitches for strikes.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Embry-Riddle Box Score (Game 2)

Florida Tech returns home on Friday, March 22 to take on former FIT assistant Sean Cotter and his Barry Buccaneers. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

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