Photo: Cheyenne Nelson – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics
It took 387 days for the Novas Southeastern Sharks to get their softball season underway but they did so in grand fashion Thursday, sweeping the Florida Tech Panthers in a doubleheader by scores of 8-0 and 9-2
After Covid-19 protocols wiped out their first 12 games, the Sharks came out swinging collecting 24 hits in the two games, including five home runs. This frim a Sharks team that hit just two home runs in the abbreviated 2020 season that saw them play 29 games.
A two-run home run by Samantha Burke off of Florida Tech starter Jordan Lawlis got the Sharks going and they never looked back.
Lawlis (2-5) would last two innings, allowing two runs on three hits and walking one. She threw 46 pitches (24 strikes). Tina Valazquez Rolon took over to start the third and Tia Williams greeted her rudely with a solo home run. The Sharks would add two more in the inning on a single by Allie Janowiak that was played into an error in the outfield, allowing two runs to score making it 5-0.
After a hit-by-pitch and a walk, Velazquez Rolon was replaced by Allison Platon in the circle. Janowiak wasted no time, taking her deep and giving the visitors an 8-0 lead. That gave Janowiak a five-RBI game.
The Sharks had the pitching to go along with the offense today, as NSU starter Emily Hess went the distance with a five-inning three-hit shutout. She walked four and struck out six, throwing 46 of her 85 pitches for strikes.
Cheyenne Nelson, Mikayla Wessel, and Tori Szrom were the only ones to get hits off Hess, all three were singles.
For more info: Nova Southeastern @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)
Florida Tech (5-8, 4-6 SSC) loaded the bases in the bottom of the first and left two runners on in the second, against Nova starter Mikayla Johnson. A Nelson single and an error, as well as a Chloe French walk, gave the Panthers hope, but Johnson worked out of it.
Nova got to Panthers starter Samantha Guider for three runs in the third inning. An RBI double from Kerstyn Shaw was followed by a Madison Shaw two-run homer. They would add two more in the fifth on an Alexis Smith sac fly and Williams RBI single, made it 5-0.
After Burke drove in another run with a double making it 6-0, Guider was relieved by Raychel Trocki. Trocki would give up a sac fly to Janowiak, extending the lead to 7-0 and closing the book on Guider (2-3) who allowed seven runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings. She walked two and struck out four, throwing 83 pitches (52 strikes).
The Panthers finally chased Johnson in the bottom of the fifth after Tori Szrom and Chloe French both had run-scoring singles, making it 7-2. Hess would return to the circle for NSU and keep the Panthers off the board the rest of the way.
Florida Tech did have seven hits as a team in game two, with Nelson and French having two each to lead the charge.
For more info: Nova Southeastern @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
These two teams are scheduled to meet Saturday, April 3 in Fort Lauderdale for another doubleheader. Game 1 is set for a 2:00 start.