The No. 9 Florida Tech Panthers were plagued by mistakes Saturday in their 5-4 loss to Lubbock Christian University at the Gulf Shores Invitational. The game went nine innings.
Hopefully, this is just first game nervousness on the part of the Panthers, who got a very good pitching performance from freshman Raychel Trocki. She pitched the first four innings allowing two hits, striking out four, walking one.
Jordan Lawlis took over in the fifth inning of a scoreless game. She retired the first batter on strikes, but Clarissa Martinez reached on an error. She was pinch-run for and after the pinch-runner stole second, Lawlis (0-1) got another strikeout. Unfortunately for the Panthers, another error got the Lady Chaps on the board. Lawlis did record her third K of the inning to keep it a 1-0 game.
Lubbock Christian (1-0) returned the favor when starting pitcher Taylor Franco fielded a ball hit by Mikayla Wessel and threw it away. That moved Wessel to second. A sacrifice bunt by Cheyenne Nelson moved her to third, and a sac fly by Jaden Kline tied the game 1-1.
The score remained tied until the top of the eighth. Ashlynn Shelley placed on second to start the frame for the Panthers. She was moved to third on a sac bunt by Katrina Hand. Shelley came home on a groundout by Wessel, and the Panthers went up 2-1.
The Lady Chaps tied the game in the bottom of the eighth on a triple by Athena Muniz. That took this game to the ninth inning.
Nelson started at second and went to third on a bunt by Jaden Kline. Kline was safe at first, putting runners at the corners. Peyton Anders was called on to pinch-run for Kline, and she promptly stole second. A sac fly by Vanessa Rubio scored Nelson to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead. Anders would score on a grounder hit by Alexis Clark, and the Panthers held a 4-2 lead.
Things went south for the Panthers in a hurry in the bottom of the ninth. With the runner at second to start, the Lady Chaps hit back-to-back infield singles to load the bases with nobody out. After a fielders’ choice by Angela Donaldson made it a 4-3 game.
Lawlis battled back to get the next out before Addi Lewis hit a ball that couldn’t be fielded, allowing two runs to score, and sending the Panthers into the loss column.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Lubbock Christian
The Panthers then played West Florida in game two. The Argos, who beat Florida Tech in the South Regionals last year and played for an NCAA DII title, had a good day at the office against the Panthers on Saturday.