A walk-off single by Lindsay Gehring helped Rollins win Sunday’s softball series finale against Florida Tech, 4-3 in nine innings. Despite the loss, the Panthers took the series two games to one, on the strength of Saturday’s doubleheader sweep that spilled into Sunday.
After Saturday’s second game was halted in the ninth inning due to bad weather in Winter Park, the Panthers and Tars finished that game Sunday, with the Panthers winning 2-0. Sunday’s finale was started soon after.
Rollins (33-7, 15-6 SSC) got on the board first, as Gehring hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first against Panthers starter Melanie Murphy, who picked up her fourth save of the season just moments earlier putting the finishing touches on that earlier game.
Florida Tech (30-10, 14-7 SSC) tied things up in the top of the third, helped by back-to-back Rollins errors. With the bases loaded, Jaden Kline came through with a hard hit single that scored Melinda Rule, who started the inning with a walk. Cheyenne Nelson tried to score on the play as well, but she was thrown out. Vanessa Rubio followed with an RBI single, bringing Xiarysse Emerenciana home, and giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
Murphy got the first two outs in the bottom of the third, before Tars pitcher Ashley Worrell helped her own cause with a solo home run, tying the game at two.
The Panthers struck again in the top of the fourth when Shanysse Emerenciana started the inning with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Victoria Szrom. A throwing error on a ball hit by Rule, allowed the Panthers to go back on top, 3-2.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, Murphy was bitten by the long ball again, this time off the bat of Abigail Sexton, leading off the bottom of the fourth. Murphy came into the game having allowed six home runs, and in three innings of work on Sunday, she gave up half of her season total.
Florida Tech coach Val Silvestrini took Murphy out, calling on Jordan Lawlis, who worked out of trouble herself in the inning, getting two strikeouts.
FIT threatened again in the fifth with a double from Kline, who gave way to pinch-runner Peyton Anders. Tina Velazquez singled, and Anders attempted to score but was thrown out by Rollins center fielder Jordan Davis, keeping the game tied at three.
Davis contributed at the plate as well, with a bunt single in the seventh. That extended her on-base streak to 25 games, but Lawlis worked out of further trouble, stranding two runners.
The Panthers looked to break on top in the ninth when Mikayla Wessel singled with one out. Nelson then hit a line drive that Tars’ shortstop Raiven Bryant, who caught the ball off her shoe tops and threw back to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
Rollins got a single from Sarah Harrison to start the ninth inning and after a sacrifice moved her to second, Davis beat out an infield single, putting runners at the corners. One out later, Gehring sent the home folks happy with the walk-off hit.
Lawlis (4-2) deserved a better fate, as she gave up four hits in 5.2 innings of work, allowing just that one run. She walked two and struck out four. Worrell (17-4) went the distance, allowing three runs on nine hits.
Offensively, Kline was 3-for-4 with an RBI and Shany Emerenciana was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Rollins Box Score
Florida Tech returns home Friday, April 12 to host Nova Southeastern in the first of a three-game series. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. on Friday.