Header Photo: Tori Szrom – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics
A Tori Szrom walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning of game two propelled the Florida Tech Panthers to a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Florida Southern Moccasins on Wednesday at Nancy Bottge Field.
Tori is clutch and when we need her she always comes through,” Panthers coach Val Silvestrini said. “She loves those situations.”
It wasn’t how we thought we would win. But a W is a W! #GoPanthers #SweepComplete pic.twitter.com/6oF3bYw74s
— Florida Tech Softball (@FloridaTechSB) April 7, 2021
Credit: Florida Tech Softball Twitter Account
This exciting finish came on the heels of a 5-2 Florida Tech win in game one that saw the home team hit two home runs.
The Panthers needed just one inning in game one to put the win in the books. It came in the third when Florida Tech sent eight batters to the plate and scored five times, against Florida Southern starter Mel Rogers.
That was more than enough for Florida Tech starter Jordan Lawlis, who picked up her fourth win of the year.
Jordan is so tough,” said Silvestrini. “She always has a couple of batters that she struggles with, but she always figures it out. Mentally, she’s really tough.”
Jolie Miracle started things with a double down the line in right. Kelly McLaughlin would move her to third with a sacrifice bunt and one out later Emily Figueroa roped a ball to the outfield that was dropped, scoring Miracle and getting Figueroa to second on a double and putting the Panthers up 1-0.
Mikayla Lewin would follow with a two-run home run to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead and after a Tori Szrom double
Chloe French deposited one over the wall, making it 5-0. It was the second home run of the inning for the Panthers who came into the game with two as a team at this point in the season. Kaylee Cowart took over in the circle for Rogers and got the final out of the inning.
Lawlis cruised into the fifth before running into trouble. After a one-out walk, Kelsey Peck hit a two-run homer to make it 5-2. After Lawlis allowed another walk, Silvestrini brought Samantha Guider in to pitch. She gave up a double in the inning but kept the Mocs from scoring more.
“Our pitchers had to battle a very tight strike zone and I was proud of the way they handled it,” said Silvestrini.
Lawlis (4-5) gave the Panthers 4.1 innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs. She walked four and struck out two, throwing 40 of her 80 pitches for strikes.
Guider picked up the save retiring eight of the 11 batters she faced. The Mocs threatened in the top of the seventh but Mikayla Wessel made a nice sliding catch in center to end the game.
Samantha was amazing she came in ready to pound the zone,” said Silvestrini. “She had really good results.”
Both home run hitters Lewin and French were 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored in game one. The Panthers had seven hits as a team.
For more info: Florida Southern @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)
Tina Velazquez Rolon got the start for the Panthers in game two, her first of the 2021 season. She did her part offensively as well, hitting a solo home run as part of a three-run third inning.
After Florida Southern opened the scoring in the top of the first, Florida Tech came up with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Figueroa got things going with an infield bunt single. She stole second and was moved to third on a Lewin single. She eventually scored on Szrom’s squeeze bunt, tying the game at one. French would follow with a single, giving the Panthers the lead.
Velazquez singled to start the bottom of the second and she would later score on a Cheyenne Nelson sac fly, making it 3-1. Two errors and a wild pitch led to the first two Panthers’ runs in the bottom of the third, before Velazquez capped it with her solo shot and a 6-1 lead.
At the time no one knew how important that home run would be, but the Moccasins would put together a big rally in the top of the seventh. Kelsey Peck and Skyler Ralstin would each have RBI singles to close the gap to 6-3. That would be the end of the night for Velazquez, who was relieved by Guider.
“Tina did well,” said Silvestrini. “She pitched a really good game and they only had one extra-base hit off of her.”
A Kensie Green single would make it 6-4 and Maddi Conner would single to load the bases. Guider would make a good pitch to Celia Higgins who hit it right back to Guider, but it glanced off her glove, scoring the fifth FSC run. They would tie the game. A walk to Lane Edgington would then force home the tying run.
All the damage was done on seven straight singles without the Panthers recording an out, with only a couple of those leaving the infield. That set up the game-tying walk.
The Mocs looked primed to break it open with five already home and no one out. After a pop-out for the first out, Jadin Dewith hit one to Ashley Campbell at third. Campbell alertly fired home to get the out and Campbell would field the next ball on a hop and step on third, ending the inning and keeping the game tied.
“I am glad we got the three outs the way we did,” said Silvestrini. “Ashley had a great defensive inning, she made the plays when we needed them and gave us a chance to win it on a walk-off.”
That walk-off was made possible with Figueroa starting the inning with a single. She went to third on a double by Lewin, setting the table for Szrom. She promptly ripped a single to left field, bringing Figueroa home with the winning run.
“I was surprised they pitched to her,” said Silvestrini of the chance Szrom got to hit. “I am glad they did, it was a heck of an ending.”
For more info: Florida Southern @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
Florida Tech (9-8, 7-6) has now won four in a row. They will travel to Lakeland to finish this four-game series with the Mocs on Saturday, April 10 with a doubleheader starting at 2:00 p.m.