The 11th-ranked Florida Tech Panthers took a trip to Winter Park on Saturday, to meet the 24th-ranked Rollins College Tars in a top-25 softball battle. The Panthers used a five-run fifth inning and a three-run seventh to win game one of the series, 8-1. Game two was suspended in the top of the ninth with the Panthers up 2-0. The game was completed Sunday afternoon and the Panthers held on for the win.
With the win in game two, the Panthers picked up their 30th win of the season, improving to 30-9, including 14-6 in the conference.
The first game of the day was a memorable one, as the Panthers struck for five runs in the third inning and added three in the fifth, snapping Rollins 12-game winning streak. The loss dropped Rollins to 32-7, 14-6 SSC)
The only run Rollins scored in game one came in the first inning. Jordan Davis had an infield single. making it 23 straight games that she has reached base. Rollins pitcher Ashley Worrell moved her to second with a sac bunt and she would score on a single by Lindsay Gehring, sliding around the tag at home plate, and giving her team a 1-0 lead.
Worrell appeared to give her team a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third as she hit one out. The celebration started a bit early, and she missed first base, turning her home run into an out. It was scored as a groundout to first, and the run was taken off the board.
That call definitely swung the momentum in the Panthers favor and they made it count in the top of the fifth inning. Shanysse Emerenciana reached on an infield single and stole second. Ally Carver followed with a walk. Pinch-hitter Alexus Smith drew a walk, loading the bases.
Mikayla Wessel then hit one to Raiven Bryant at short, who dove to get it but threw it away, allowing Shanysse to score, as well as pinch-runner Katrina Hand, on the error, giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead. One out later, Xiarysse Emerenciana was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. That brought Jaden Kline to the plate, and she drilled one just inside the right field line, clearing the bases and giving the Panthers a 5-1 lead.
Florida Tech put the game away with three runs in the seventh inning. Wessel singled and stole second, followed by an infield single by Cheyenne Nelson. A walk by Xiarysse loaded the bases, and Kline came through again with an RBI single scoring Wessel. Nelson got caught in a pickle and was tagged out, but the Panthers went up 6-1. Rubio and Velazquez then hit back-to-back singles, making it 8-1.
Murphy (16-5) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Panthers an 8-1 win in game one. She got another complete-game, allowing one run on five hits, walking one and striking out eight.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Rollins Box Score (Game 1)
Game two was a pitchers’ duel between Florida Tech’s Tina Velazquez (10-3) and Grace Street of the Tars, right up until the weather became a factor.
Davis had a bunt single against Velazquez in the bottom of the fourth, extending her on-base streak to 24 games. She would do the same in the third inning, before reaching on an error in the sixth inning. She would finally be thrown out on a nice play by Melinda Rule at third base, stranding a runner at second.
Velazquez did her part offensively as well, doubling in the fifth, hitting a single in the seventh, and starting the Panthers rally in the ninth with a leadoff double. Shanysse walked and both runners advanced 60 feet on a wild pitch.
Rule then hit a foul ball to right that appeared to be caught by Ernst. Velazquez started toward home, with what would have been the first run of the game. Instead, the umpire ruled that the ball bounced first, meaning it was simply a foul ball.
Rule got the ultimate revenge as she drilled the next pitch down the left field line for a double, scoring two runs. Wessel then drew a walk, putting runners at first and second, before the game was postponed until Sunday afternoon.
When the game picked up on Sunday, pinch hitter Victoria Szrom laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving the runners to second and third. Nelson then lined out and Xiarysse grounded out, keeping the Panthers from doing further damage.
Murphy, who got the win in game one Saturday, came out to pitch the bottom of the ninth and earned her fourth save of the season. She walked Worrell who was then lifted for pinch-runner Jenny Goldsher pinch runs. After a Gehring single, Murphy got Street looking for the first out of the inning. Kentoffio then reached on a fielder’s choice, erasing Gehring at second and moving Goldsher to third. Sexton was the Tars last hope and Murphy got her to fly out, giving the Panthers the doubleheader sweep.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Rollins Boxscore (Game 2)
These two teams will play the final game of the series on Sunday, a makeup of Friday’s series-opening game that was postponed.