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Panthers Complete Sweep of Florida Southern

Following a win under the lights at Nancy Bottge Field on Friday, the Florida Tech softball team completed a three-game sweep on Saturday, winning both ends of a doubleheader 11-3, and 2-1.

Victoria Szrom had a grand slam in game one and six RBIs in game one. She finished the game with two of the Panthers’ five hits. We have harped on the Panthers defensive struggles this season, and on Saturday they played error-free softball in both games. That deserves recognition, for sure.

Florida Southern starting pitcher Jenna Weldon ran into immediate trouble in the top of the first in game one. After getting the first out, she walked Mikayla Wessel, but she was erased on a caught stealing, so there were two outs.

Walks to Jaden Kline, Vanessa Rubio, and Tina Velazquez Rolon loaded the bases for Szrom unloaded them in a hurry, homering over the center-field wall. The grand slam made it 4-0 Panthers.

Florida Southern got a run back in the top of the second, as Panthers starter Jordan Lawlis gave up back-to-back doubles to Celia Higgins and Kelsey Peck, making it a 4-2 game.

The Panthers answered immediately in the bottom of the second. After Weldon walked Ashley Campbell, she was lifted in favor of Kaylee Cowart. Katie Maiello sacrificed Campbell to second. A single by Cheyenne Nelson got Maiello to third. Nelson went to second on the throw. A walk to Wessel loaded the bases, and one out later Vanessa Rubio drilled a bases-clearing double to right-center, giving the Panthers a 7-2 lead.

Lawlis gave up a run-scoring double to Beka Schulte in the top of the third, and after walking the next batter, coach Val Silvestrini put Velazquez Rolon in the circle. She got the final out of the inning and it was a 7-3 lead for the Panthers.

The Panthers added a run in the bottom of the fourth, as Wessel was hit by a pitch and later scored on a fielder’s choice by Velazquez Rolon. Florida Tech put a cap on this one in the sixth inning when Szrom doubled home two runs, and Ashlynn Shelley grounded out, scoring Jenna Hornsby.

With that, the lead ballooned to 11-3, and the run-rule ended the game.

Velazquez (3-2) got the win in game one, pitching the final 3.1 innings, allowing four hits and striking out four. Lawlis allowed four hits in the first 2.2 innings, walked three and allowed three runs.

For more info: Florida Southern @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)

In game two, the Panthers (4-7, 3-0 SSC) got 11 hits as a team, with Wessel, Kline, Velazquez, and Campbell getting two hits each. Velazquez was 2-for-3, while Campbell went 2-for-2.

Raychel Trocki got the start in the circle for Florida Tech against Kristen Beacham, who took the loss in Friday night’s series opener.

Florida Southern (5-5, 0-3 SSC) got on the board first in this one in the top of the second. Higgins doubled home a run, and that was followed by a Peck double. Higgins attempted to score, but she was cut down at the plate as Wessel fielded the throw from the outfield and threw home in time, keeping the score 1-0.

Lawlis took over for Trocki in the circle to start the third. Trocki allowed one run and two hits in two innings of work. She walked one and struck out two. Lawlis took over for her in the top of the third.

The Panthers got on the board in the bottom of the third. Nelson was hit by a pitch and went to second on a Wessel groundout. A single by Kline put runners at the corners and the two of them then pulled off a double steal, getting Nelson home and tying the game, 1-1. One out later, Velazquez singled Kline home, giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

Florida Tech looked poised to score in the bottom of the fourth when Campbell and Nelson singled. Wessel hit one back to the circle, and Campbell tried to score, only to be thrown out at the plate.

Lawlis (1-2) got the win in this game, pitching three innings. She allowed one hit and walked three.  Velazquez got the save, striking out one in a flawless two-inning appearance.

For more info: Florida Southern @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)

The Panthers have now won four in a row, after starting the season 0-7. They will travel to St. Petersburg Friday to take on Eckerd in another weekend conference series. Friday’s game starts at 6:00 p.m., with a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at noon.