Panthers Hang on Against Lynn

The Lynn Fighting Knights lived up to their name before dropping a 7-5 decision to Florida Tech on Friday in a Sunshine State Conference softball game at Nancy Bottge Field.

An error in the bottom of the sixth inning was the difference in this one, as the Panthers broke a 5-5 tie with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Reliever Tina Velazquez Rolon was the beneficiary of that, picking up her sixth win of the season.

The Panthers (8-9, 6-1 SSC) got off to a good start in the bottom of the first when Cheyenne Nelson hit a solo home run on a 2-1 count to lead off the game. After Velazquez singled and went to second on a walk to Vanessa Rubio, Victoria Szrom doubled her home and gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead against Lynn starter Allyson Jameston. A pitching change followed as Kayla Sheffield was brought in. She proceeded to get Lynn out of the inning.

Szrom struck again for the Panthers in the bottom of the second. She hit a single up the middle to score Nelson, who singled and Wessel who reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning. That gave Szrom three RBIs in two innings and gave the Panthers a 4-0 lead.

Lynn got to Panthers starter Jordan Lawlis in the third inning. Following a single and a hit-by-pitch, Grasy Gomez hit one out, closing the Fighting Knights gap to 4-3 with one swing.

Lawlis was done after three innings, giving up three runs on three hits. She struck out three and walked two, throwing 73 pitches, 39 for strikes. Velazquez took her spot in the circle to start the fourth inning.

After getting the first out, Velazquez gave up back-to-back singles and her error put runners on second and third. Sheffield then doubled to left, plating both runs and turning a 4-3 Florida Tech lead into a 5-4 deficit.

Nelson started the fourth inning with a single and after a steal of second, she went to third on a groundout by Velazquez. Rubio came through again as she has all season, hitting a double inside the line in right, bringing Nelson home with the tying run.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the sixth. Mikayla Wessel and Velazquez Rolon singled. After pinch-runner Rachel Kraak stole second, Rubio hit one to third that was fielded cleanly and thrown to first. The ball was dropped on the transfer, and although Rubio was out, Wessel and Kraak scored, giving the Panthers a 7-5 lead.

For more info: Lynn @ Florida Tech Box Score

Nelson extended her hitting streak to 11 games with a 3-for-4 night. Velazquez went 2-for-4, as did Szrom. Wessel was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and extended her hitting streak to seven games.

Winning pitcher Velazquez Rolon gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out three batters in her four innings of relief.

This series continues with a doubleheader on Saturday at Nancy Bottge Field. The first pitch is set for 12:00 p.m.