It wasn’t easy, but the Florida Tech softball team got two big wins over Tiffin on Thursday at Nancy Bottge Field, putting them over the .500 mark for the first time this season. Game one was the Panthers most lopsided win of the season 15-2, but they had to walk it off in game two, winning 5-4.
The Panthers made quick work of the Dragons in game one of the twin bill, as Jordan Lawlis and Raychel Trocki combined for a five-inning no-hitter, as the Panthers rolled to a 15-0 win.
Lawlis got the victory in both games of the doubleheader, improving her record to 4-2.
Game one was pretty much over as soon as it began. After the Dragons went down in order in the first, the Panthers exploded for eight runs in their half of the frame.
Cheyenne Nelson had a 13-game hitting streak coming into the game on Thursday. She batted twice in the first inning, walking, and getting hit by a pitch, scoring two runs. She also picked up an RBI. Mikayla Wessel singled behind her to start the inning, extending her hitting streak to 12. A wild pitch by Tiffin starter Sarah Klein allowed both runners to score and the rout was on.
Tiffin brought Shelbey Spurlock in to pitch to Ally Carver, who drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-0, and a suicide squeeze from Rachel Kraak made it 4-0. A wild pitch allowed Jaden Kline to score, and after a walk to Katie Maiello loaded the bases, Nelson’s HBP allowed Carver to score, making it 6-0. Wessel’s two-run single brought the final runs of the inning home.
When it was over, the Panthers sent 14 batters to the plate, had eight runs on three hits and drew six walks. They were not far off those numbers in the bottom of the third.
Nelson walked, Wessel singled and Tina Velazquez Rolon was hit, loading the bases. Consecutive fielder’s choice grounders got two runs in, making it 10-0. A passed ball scored Velazquez Rolon and it was 11-0. One out later, Carver’s RBI single made it 12-0, and Spurlock’s day was done. Hallie Sheehan was brought on to try to stem the tide.
Instead, she gave up the Dragons’ eighth walk of the game to Kraak, loading the bases. Maiello would then chase Kline and Carver with a double, making it 14-0. Andrea Tovar would get her first at-bat when she pinch-hit for Nelson and a groundout resulted in her first RBI as a Panther and extend the lead to 15-0.
Raychel Trocki took over for Lawlis to start the fourth inning. She got through the fourth clean, but four walks in the fifth combined with a wild pitch, allowed the Dragons to score twice in the fifth. Trocki did get the final out eventually, completing the combined no-hitter and giving the Panthers their 10th win of the season.
Lawlis (3-2) was credited with the win, pitching three innings, not allowing a hit, walking two and striking out none. She threw 30 pitches, 15 for strikes.
The Panthers had nine hits in this one, including a 3-for-3 day from Wessel, scoring twice and knocking in two. Campbell was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Carver and Maiello had two RBI days as well.
For more info: Tiffin @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)
Game two got off to a good start offensively for the Panthers. Szrom walked to start the second inning and went to second on a sacrifice. After Kline singled to get her to third, Kraak grounded out allowing Szrom to score, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Velazquez was brought in to pitch the fourth, after Lawlis
The Panthers (11-10) added a run in the fourth. Carver reached on an error and went to third on a sacrifice bunt from Kraak. Maiello singled her home, making it 2-0. It was the third RBI of the day for Maiello.
Velazquez Rolon doubled to start the fifth and was taken out for pinch-runner Katrina Hand. One out later, Ashley Campbell brought her home with a single, and it was 3-0 in favor of the home team.
Tiffin (2-10) didn’t go down without a fight. The Dragons tied the game with three runs in the fifth against Velazquez Rolon. Back-to-back walks started the inning and Brooke Lambert, Hayley Kobie, and Maddie Legg each drove in a run with a single, tying the game 3-3.
The Dragons went ahead in the top of the seventh, when a walk and an error led to a run, giving the visitors a 4-3 lead. That meant the Panthers were going to have to walk it off if they were going to earn the sweep, and that’s exactly what they did.
Velazquez walked, Szrom singled and Whitney Ellis ran for Szrom. A sac bunt by Campbell moved both runners up and a walk to Kline loaded the bases. Ally Carver earned the game-tying walk and one out later, Maiello drew a walk, scoring Kline with the winning run.
For more info: Tiffin @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
The Panthers had seven hits in game two, but Nelson had a 13-game hitting streak come to an end and Wessel’s hitting streak ended at 10.
The Panthers have now won seven of their last nine games and they will continue their homestand on Friday with a doubleheader against Wilmington University. Game one will get underway at 4:00 p.m.