The Florida Tech softball squad rebounded from a tough loss on Friday in St. Pete to sweep a doubleheader from Eckerd on Saturday, winning game one 9-3, and game two 4-1.
With the sweep, the Panthers improve to 6-8 overall, and 5-1 in Sunshine State Conference play. Florida Tech had eight hits in each game, with Cheyenne Nelson and Victoria Szrom both going 3-for-3 to lead the hit parade in game one.
The visitors took advantage of a tough first inning for Tritons starter Hannah Perkins. Nelson walked and went to third after two wild pitches by Perkins. Mikayla Wessel and Jaden Kline each drew walks to load the bases, and Vanessa Rubio followed with one, forcing Nelson home. Another walk issued to Tina Velazquez Rolon brought Wessel home to make it 2-0. Ashley Campbell then hit a rocket for a double, making it 4-0.
An RBI single by Szrom and a run-scoring groundout by Ashlynn Shelley made it 6-0. Nelson got another at-bat and reached on an error, scoring Szrom and giving the visiting Panthers a 7-0 lead. In all, the Panthers sent 11 batters to the plate, had three hits and benefitted from one NSU error.
Panthers starter Jordan Lawlis gave up a single and hit a batter in the bottom of the inning, likely due to her teammates building that 7-0 lead. Lawlis settled in, allowing just one more hit in four innings in the circle. She struck out three and walked two.
Florida Tech scored twice more in the sixth inning, getting an RBI groundout from Kline scoring Katrina Hand, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Vanessa Rubio to make it 9-0.
Eckerd got on the board in the bottom of the frame against Panthers reliever Raychel Trocki. Eckerd scored three times, but that was as close as they could get, as Ally Carver made a great diving catch in left field to end the inning.
Trocki pitched three innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits. A tip of the cap to Perkins who had that nightmare first inning, but continued to compete, going the distance for the Tritons.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Eckerd Box Score (Game 1)
Game two was started by Velazquez Rolon for the Panthers and Kensley Durrance for the Tritons. Durrance who got the win on Friday night, matched Velazquez Rolon for the first three innings, as the game was scoreless.
Florida Tech broke through in the top of the fourth. A Rubio single and a walk by Velazquez Rolon got things going. Szrom sacrificed successfully, moving both runners up 60 feet. Campbell would make that pay off as she chased both home with a two-run single.
The Panthers would double that lead in the fifth, as Wessel and Rubio singled. Rachel Kraak pinch ran for Rubio, and she would follow Wessel in after a ball hit by Velazquez Rolon was misplayed, helping the Panthers to a 4-0 lead.
The Tritons (7-7, 4-2 SSC) got their only run of the game in the bottom of the seventh on two Florida Tech errors, both on the same play. The Panthers committed three errors in game two, after playing improved defense over the last couple of games.
Velazquez Rolon got the complete-game win for the Panthers, allowing one run on six hits. She walked one and struck out six.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Eckerd Box Score (Game 2)
Florida Tech returns home on Tuesday, February 25, as they welcome in Flagler College for a non-conference doubleheader. Game one is scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. first pitch.