The Florida Tech Panthers opened the Florida Tech Invitational at the USSSA Complex in Viera on Friday and dropped both games losing 9-1 to West Georgia, and 3-2 to Alabama in Huntsville.
Following a three-game weekend in Gulf Shores that saw the Panthers commit seven errors in all, they continued to struggle on Friday, committing six errors against the Wolves leading to seven unearned runs.
Freshman pitcher Raychel Trocki got her fourth straight start in this one, and things unraveled for her early.
West Georgia pitcher Morgan Goree took advantage of her teams’ good fortune, as she held the Panthers to three hits in a six-inning complete-game effort. She walked two and struck out nine, throwing 102 pitches.
After West Georgia scored in the top of the first, the Panthers answered when Mikayla Wessel walked and later scored on a wild pitch.
Two errors in the first three batters got the top of the third off to a horrible start for the Panthers in the field, giving West Georgia a 2-1 lead. Leslie Brogden then ripped a double to score Raven Smith and make it 3-1. Back-to-back walks forced home a run to make it 4-1 Kristyn Nix got her second hit of the day, driving in two and give her team a 6-1 lead.
Trocki (0-3) would be done after 2.1 innings in the circle. None of the six runs that crossed the plate against her were earned. She walked two and struck out three, throwing 61 pitches.
West Georgia would score three more runs in the sixth, thanks in large part to two more errors. Ashley Campbell had two of the three Panthers hits, with Victoria Szrom picking up the other.
For more info: West Georgia @ Florida Tech Box Score (Viera, FL)
In game two against Alabama in Huntsville, Tina Velazquez Rolon made her first start of the year, both in the circle and in the batters’ box. Rolon played well, pitching six innings, and getting two of the Panthers four hits. Jaden Kline had the other two.
The Chargers (4-2) got on the board first, with a sac fly by Ashley Cornell. Kiara Akles made it 2-0 with a solo home run in the top of the second.
Florida Tech (0-5) got their only run of the game in the bottom of the second, against UAH starter Torie Garner. After two were out, Campbell drew a walk and Velazquez Rolon chased her home with a double to left, making it 2-1.
Velazquez Rolon walked the bases loaded in the top of the third but got Akles to fly out. Alabama would add an insurance run in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Reagan Malone, making it 3-1.
Kline led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, but she was left stranded. The Panthers would get within a run in the bottom of the fifth. Velazquez Rolon would lead off with a double and pinch-runner Peyton Anders would take her spot. After Ashlynn Shelley’s sac bunt got Anders to third, Anders would score on an error. That made it 3-2.
Florida Tech looked poised to tie the game in sixth. Kline singled to start the inning and was lifted for pinch-runner Whitney Ellis. Two batters later, Campbell would walk, and Velazquez Rolon would do the same, loading the bases. Pinch-hitter Victoria Szrom struck out, ending the threat.
The last chance for Florida Tech came in the bottom of the seventh. Wessel reached on an error with two outs and stole second. She was stranded there.
For more info: UAH @ Florida Tech Box Score (Viera, FL)
The action continues Saturday at the USSSA Complex with games against Angelo State at 2:30 p.m., and West Florida at 5:00 p.m.