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Panthers Split Doubleheader Against PBA

Raul Quintero Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown
The Florida Tech Panthers split a doubleheader with the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish on Friday, wrapping up their final road series of the season. FIT won game one 8-7, before dropping game two, 6-5. Friday’s split, combined with the Panthers 6-4 win on Thursday, give Florida Tech a series win.

Game one featured Colin Cristello on the mound for the Panthers. He struggled a bit at the outset, as the Sailfish scored a run in the second, helped by a single and two consecutive batters hit by a pitch. Ramon Machado’s groundout brought the first run home.

PBA added to their lead in the third on an RBI double by Brandon Seltzer, and a run-scoring single by Brandon Smith, giving the home team a 3-0 lead.

Sailfish starter Christian Denton cruised through the first four innings allowing just two baserunners before the Panthers got a run in the top of fifth. Denton hit Raul Quintero to start the inning, and he moved to second on a single by Dylan Owens. Vinny Catanza then doubled, scoring Quintero with the Panthers first run.

The Panthers closed the gap to one with a run in the sixth. Brett Parrish got an infield single with two outs and stole second. He later scored on an error, making it 3-2. PBA would get that run back in the bottom of the frame against Panthers reliever Jordan Murray, on an RBI triple by Derek Schwimer, making it a 4-2 game.

Florida Tech took their first lead of the day in the top of the seventh, thanks to a two-run single by Parrish, and a single by Quintero that scored Quintero, giving the Panthers a 5-4 lead.

Murray (2-0) got the first out in the bottom of the inning, but after walking Seltzer, he gave up a two-run bomb to Smith, putting PBA ahead 6-5. The next batter was Andreas Papageorge and he took Murray deep, giving his team a 7-5 lead.

The game remained that way until the top of the ninth when Florida Tech got to Sailfish reliever Orson Josephina. James Gronberg walked and went to third on a single by Jacob Buser. A Blaise Maris groundout made it 7-6. Quintero singled later in the inning, scoring pinch-runner Jakob Newton, and tying the game at seven. Owens followed with a double, scoring Quintero and giving the Panthers an 8-7 lead.

Parrish, Quintero, and Owens had two hits each, as the Panthers reeled off 10 hits in this game.

Panthers closer Ryan Allain came on in the ninth and got a 1-2-3 inning, closing out his 12th game of the season. With that save, Allain tied the single-season saves record for Florida Tech.

Cristello pitched five innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out two, throwing 86 pitches, 54 strikes. Murray picked up the win, despite giving up four runs on five hits, over three innings. He walked one and struck out three, throwing 31 of his 50 pitches for strikes.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Palm Beach Atlantic Box Score (Game 1)

Game two started out much like game one, as Florida Tech starter Rhett Willis, ran into trouble early. He allowed two singles, before picking off a runner trying to steal. That would be key, because Seltzer would hit a two-run blast, giving the Sailfish a 2-0 lead.

The Panthers (25-18, 13-11 SSC) would get a run back in the third inning, against Sailfish starter Lance Fry. Pedro Rivera singled and went to second on a Rodnie Bernard single. After Gronberg walked to load the bases, and Buser’s groundout made it 2-1.

Florida Tech tied the game in the fourth, on a sacrifice fly by Rivera. They would take the lead in the fifth with another single run, thanks to a Maris sac fly, making it a 3-2 game in favor of FIT.

Willis pitched into the fifth, before giving way to Justin Lorenz, who got the final out of the inning, and got through the sixth. The final line on Willis was 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter, throwing 39 of his 64 pitches for strikes.

Lorenz ran into trouble in the seventh, giving up a double and hitting a batter, before giving way to reliever Matt DiNenna. Schwimer reached on a fielder’s choice, tying the game at three. Sean Houck would bring home another run with a sac fly, making it 4-3. That brought Danny Tufariello to the plate and he landed the big blow, taking DiNenna out of the park, and giving the Sailfish a 6-3 lead.

Three of those runs went against Lorenz, but none were earned because there was an error just after DiNenna came in.

The Panthers went down swinging, scoring twice in the eighth inning. An RBI single by Vinny Catanza made it 6-4, and a fielder’s choice by Rivera made it 6-5. They would then get a double by Maris in the top of the ninth, but the potential tying run was anchored when the Sailfish got the final out.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Palm Beach Atlantic Box Score (Game 2)

The Panthers return home on Saturday, May 4 to take on Barry in a Sunshine State Conference series. The first game of the series is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. with a Sunday doubleheader, starting at noon.