Panthers Comeback Falls Short in Wild Game Against Golden Eagles

The Florida Tech Panthers scored 10 unanswered runs in three innings on Tuesday, but their comeback effort wasn’t enough in a 15-12 loss to Minnesota Crookston at Seminick-Hall Field.

The Panthers (4-10) outhit the Golden Eagles 15-14, getting Blaise Maris, Brett Parrish, Dylan Owens, Rodnie Bernard, and Alec Eldridge. Owens ended the night with four RBIs, while Maris had three.

Minnesota Crookston’s Mason Ruhlman had a career night at the plate. He hit two home runs, and a two-run single, ending the night 3-for-4 with seven RBIs.

Florida Tech (4-10) used seven pitchers in this game with Preston Schumacher getting the starting nod. It was his first start since March of last year, and his first appearance since April.

His defense got him off to a good start when they turned a 7-6-2 double play when Bryce Jorgenson attempted to tag up and score from second on a ball hit by Ruhlman to Vinny Catanza in left. He threw to Raul Quintero at short, who fired it to Dylan Owens behind the plate. The tag was there, and Jorgenson was out.

Florida Tech got on the board in the bottom of the second. Owens started the inning with a single and came home on a double by Catanza. Catanza would later score on a Jack Nagy single, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

Minnesota Crookston answered back in a big way in the top of the third when they sent 11 guys to the plate. the plate. Ben Bryant’s RBI single scored Ben Thoma and made it a short night for Schumacher. Alex Carpenter came on and gave up Ruhlman’s first long ball of the night was a three-run shot, making it 4-0. Thoma, who doubled to start the inning would end it with a bang, hitting a three-run homer of his own, making it 8-0. Luis Moriyon took over for Carpenter, and a pickoff ended the inning.

The visitors would add three more runs in the fourth on another Bryant RBI hit, and a two-run jack from Ruhlman, making it 11-2.  They would add four more in the top of the fifth thanks to a Panthers error, a wild pitch, and the two-run single by Ruhlman, expanding the lead to a dizzying 15-2.

The Panthers were a resilient bunch though, starting their comeback with four runs in the bottom of the frame. Maris had a two-run double, followed by an RBI double off the bat of Parrish. An RBI groundout from Owens later in the inning scored Parrish, and it was 15-6.

Florida Tech kept the train rolling in the bottom of the sixth. Maris and Quintero drew bases-loaded walks before Owens cleared them with a three-run double down the line in left. All of a sudden, it was a 15-11 game.

The comeback continued in the seventh when Jakob Newton walked and later scored on an Eldridge single, closing the gap to three. It looked like the Panthers were poised to make this a new game in the eighth when Quintero and Owens started the inning with consecutive singles. Owens was picked off first later in the inning after his timeout request was not granted. The Panthers argued, but the umpires stayed with the call, and that pretty much put the dagger in that inning.

The ninth inning presented another golden opportunity for the Panthers when Newton was hit by a pitch and Eldridge walked with one out. Unfortunately, Maris and Parrish both hit into loud outs in consecutive at-bats, ending the game.

For more info: Minnesota Crookston @ Florida Tech Box Score

The Panthers will now hit the road this weekend, as they get back into conference play against Tampa. The series starts Friday at UT Baseball Field, at 6:00 p.m.