The Florida Tech Panthers battled back from 4-0 down but ultimately fell 6-5 in 10 innings to visiting Lindenwood in the season opener.
The loss spoils three-hit days from Brett Parrish and Dylan Owens. Rodnie Bernard and Raul Quintero had two hits each, as the Panthers finished with 13 hits on the day. The problem for Florida Tech was getting those runners home, as they left 11 men on base.
Florida Tech ace Andy Marzheuser started this one, and the Lions got on him early. The first three Lindenwood hitters reached one of those on an error. Mitchell Krebs got his team on the board with a sac fly, and Dominic Revetta followed with an RBI single. A single off the bat of Alex Canty followed, making it 3-0 and a sacrifice fly from Beau Collier plated the final run of the inning before Marzheuser got the final out.
Lindenwood starter Blake Beckmann struggled early as well, with Bernard and Quintero hitting back-to-back singles to start the frame. After the two pulled off a double steal, Brett Parrish and Dylan Owens hit two consecutive RBI singles, to cut the lead in half. After the next two outs were recorded, Jakob Newton bounced one back to Beckmann, who airmailed the throw, and it looked like the Panthers at least tied the game. That was not to be, as Quintero was called out for interference at third base. With that very questionable call, the game remained 4-2.
Tyler Brown, who missed the Panthers 2019 season due to injury, was in the lineup and singled with one out in the second. One out later, Quintero reached on an error, moving to second on the play. With runners on second and third, Parrish was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Owens got the count to 3-2 and looked like he drew a walk on a low pitch, but he was rung up, keeping it at 4-2.
Kolby Schulte came up big defensively a couple of times for his Lindenwood squad, including in the bottom of the third, robbing newcomer Brendan Riley of a hit with a full-extension dive. Riley would bounce back to get his first hit as a member of the Panthers in the seventh inning.
Lindenwood (1-0) added a run in the top of the fourth when Sam Kissane singled home Collier to make it 5-2. Kissane stole second and tried to score on a Bryce Beckmann single, but was meat at the plate to end the inning.
Bernard and Quintero singled, and Parrish then reached on an error, bring Bernard home with the Panthers third run. Owens followed with his second RBI of the day, closing the gap to 5-4.
Marzheuzer got the first out in the fifth inning, before giving way to Blake Beyel in relief. Marzheuser went 4 1/3, giving up six hits, five runs, (three earned) to go with one walk. He did not strike anybody out, which may be the most surprising stat of the day for Marzheuser. He threw 71 pitches, 55 for strikes.
Beyel kept his Panthers in the game, retiring 10 straight Lions, and 11 of the 12 batters he faced. He struck out five in 3.2 innings, an impressive outing in his Panthers debut.
Florida Tech (0-1) struck for a run in the bottom of the sixth. Parrish tripled with one out, just ahead of a very good throw to third. Owens singled him home, tying the game at five, and giving Owens a three-RBI day.
Panther reliever Andres Rodriguez made his first appearance as a Panther in the ninth inning and picked up a strikeout on the first batter he faced.
The score remained unchanged until the top of the 10th inning. Kissane singled and stole second. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Rodriguez walked the next batter, putting runners at the corners. Schulte then hit a double-play ball, and the Panthers looked primed to turn it. They came close, but the base umpire called him safe at first on a bang, bang play that looked from a distance as if it should have gone the Panthers way. It didn’t, as Kissane crossed the plate with the Lions fifth run.
Florida Tech went down in order in the bottom of the inning, falling one run short.
For more info: Lindenwood @ Florida Tech Box Score
This three-game series continues Saturday, with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch at Seminick Hall Field. The weather could play a role in this game, so follow us on Twitter at @sports_lowdown to get the latest updates.