Division II’s fifth-ranked Florida Tech Panthers took both ends of a doubleheader in Lakeland Thursday, beating Florida Southern 8-0 and 7-1. Game two was called in the top of the seventh, due to rin. It was delayed once in the third inning and twice in the seventh before it was made official in the top of the seventh. The sweep boosts Florida Tech’s winning streak to five games.
With the sweep, the Panthers now find themselves in a first-place tie with Tampa, atop the Sunshine State Conference Standings. The Panthers are now 35-10 overall, and 19-7 in the SSC.
Melanie Murphy (19-5) settled in the circle for game one and pitched a complete-game gem. She allowed five hits and struck out four without walking a batter. She threw 59 of her 83 pitches for strikes.
Florida Tech gave Murphy all the cushion she would need in the third inning against FSC starter Aubrey Ehlers. Mikayla Wessel reached on an infield hit and stole second. She would come home on a Cheyenne Nelson single.
Later in the inning, Xiarysse Emerenciana walked and stole second, putting runners at second and third. After Vanessa Rubio walked to load the bases, Tina Velazquez knocked in two runs with a single. Velazquez wasn’t done, as she and Rubio pulled off a double steal, with Rubio making it home, giving the Panthers a 4-0 lead. The Panthers had seven stolen bases as a team in game one.
The Panthers would tack on two more in the top of the fourth when Rubio singled, driving in Wessel who had reached on an error and Emerenciana, who had singled. That gave the Panthers a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Jaden Kline knocked in Emerenciana with an RBI double in the sixth, and the final run came in the seventh on Wessel’s sacrifice bunt, allowing the speedy Shanysse Emerenciana to score, making it 8-0.
Florida Tech had 12 hits in game one, led by Shany Emerenciana’s 3-for-4 night. Xiary and Rule each had two hits and Rubio and Velazquez knocked in two runs apiece.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Florida Southern Box Score (Game 1)
The Panthers success continued in game two, as they were able to take advantage of some Florida Southern miscues, leading to four unearned runs, while getting six hits, led by a 2-for-4 night by Velazquez.
Jordan Lawlis (6-2) went the distance in game two, throwing six innings of six-hit softball. She walked three and struck out four, throwing 102 pitches (61 strikes).
The Panthers struck first in the third inning, against Moccasins starter Kristen Beacham. Xiary singled and Kline drove her home with a double, making it 1-0. The lead didn’t last long as the Mocs’ got an RBI single from Jessica Trana, tying this one up.
FIT would untie it in a big way, in the top of the fourth. After Velazquez singled, Shany walked, and Victoria Szrom would reach on an error, loading the bases. Rule then drew a walk to force in a run, as pinch-runner Katrina Hand scored. Shany caught the Mocs’ sleeping, as she went to third on the walk, but never stopped and as the ball was thrown back to Beacham, she ran home, giving the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Yes, they scored two runs on a walk.
Szrom then scored on a fielder’s choice, as she beat the throw home on a ball hit by Rule, giving the visitors a 4-1 lead. The final run of the inning came when Rubio reached on a fielder’s choice, which was followed by an error, allowing Wessel to score. It was one of FSC’s three errors on the night and made it 5-1.
Florida Tech’s final two runs came in the sixth inning. Wessel singled and Nelson was hit by a pitch. A double steal put runners at second and third. After a force-out at home, Kline tapped one back to the pitcher, who threw to first, but the throw could not be handled. That error allowed Nelson to score, making it 6-1. Peyton Anders ran for Kline and she was part of yet another double steal, that brought Xiary home with the seventh run.
Lawlis got out of the bottom of the sixth thanks to a double play, and the game was called in the top of the seventh after pinch-hitter Alexis Clark drew a walk.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Florida Southern Box Score (Game 2)
The final game of the series on Friday. has been moved up to a 10:00 a.m. start time, due to impending bad weather.