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Panthers Salvage Split Against GCU with Walk-Off Win in Game Two

Florida Tech played their third consecutive doubleheader on Saturday, and for the third straight day, the Panthers got a big walk-off win in game two, completing a three-run comeback against Georgian Court with three runs in the final frame turning a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 win.

It was the third straight walk-off win in game two of a twin bill for the Panthers. Thursday, they swept Tiffin thanks to a walk-off walk drawn by Katie Maiello. On Friday, it was a single by Ashley Campbell, allowing Victoria Szrom to score and beat Wilmington 5-4.

Saturday, the Panthers dropped game one to the Lions 5-4. Jordan Lawlis got the start in the circle, and GCU got to her for two runs in the top of the first thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Lindsey Fischbach. She would score on a Jade Warner single.

Georgian Court starter Mikayla Gilgert sent the Panthers down in order the first time through the lineup. In the fourth inning, Mikayla Wessel reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second Tina Velazquez Rolon would then reach on an error allowing Wessel to score and Florida Tech was on the board.

The Panthers who committed four errors in game two on Friday and still won were hurt by errors again in the fifth inning on Saturday, as two runs scored for the Lions. An error on a stolen base led to one run, and a throwing error later in the inning led to another run and a 4-1 lead.

GCU would get their final run on a Samantha Salomon RBI single in the seventh. Florida Tech answered in the bottom of the inning, mounting a two-out rally. Vanessa Rubio singled to start the inning and was pinch-run for by Peyton Anders. Pinch-hitter Alexis Clark singled and gave pinch-hitter Ally Carver a chance. She came through with a single, scoring Anders and making it 5-2. That was as close as the Panthers would get, as Cheyenne Nelson came up as the tying run, but flew out to end the game.

Gilgert got the complete-game victory for Georgian Court giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits. She did not give up multiple hits to any of the Panthers.

Lawlis (5-3) went the distance for the Panthers, allowing five runs (two earned) on nine hits. She walked two and struck out three, throwing 114 pitches (68 strikes).

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

Things did not start well for the Panthers in game two as Paige Eckert got GCU on the board with a two-run home run against Velazquez Rolon, who got the start for the home team. Eckert would do damage again in the third, driving Fischbach home with a single and putting her team up 3-0.

An error led to another Georgian Court run in the fourth when Malia Black touched the plate after a dropped fly ball allowed her to score from second.

The Panthers (14-11) got a run back in the fifth inning when Nelson tripled and was chased home by a Rubio single, cutting the GCU lead to 4-2. Rubio, who missed Thursday and Friday’s games, returned with a hit in both of Saturday’s games. She also drew three walks in game two.

After Velazquez got through the sixth stranding two runners, Szrom led off the sixth inning with her third home run of the season. That got the Panthers to within a run, heading into the final frame.

Georgian Court (6-12) got a run back in the top of the seventh with a single from Kendalia Turner bringing home the Lions fifth run and getting their lead back to two.

That lead was short-lived as Wessel took one for the team, getting hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the inning. Velazquez Rolon immediately made that mistake pay off, as she hit a bomb over the right-field wall, tying the game at 5.

Rubio walked and after a pitching change for GCU, Anders was back to run for Rubio. After Jaden Kline walked, Katrina Hand took her spot at first. That brought Szrom up and after fouling one off the net down the first baseline, she roped a single up the middle, scoring Anders with the winning run.

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

Velazquez Rolon not only hit the homer that tied the game, but she also went 3-for-4 at the dish, improving her record to 9-4 in the circle, with the complete-game victory. She allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits, walking three and striking out eight. She threw 80 of her 133 pitches for strikes.

Nelson was the only other Panther with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4.

After winning five of six games this week, the Panthers will be home again Wednesday, March 11 to host Southern New Hampshire University in a doubleheader. Game one is set for 1:00 p.m.