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Panthers Strike Late to Beat PBA

Photo: Blaise Maris Credit: Florida Tech Athletics

The Florida Tech Panthers scored three times in the bottom of the eighth on Friday, beating the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish 5-3 in the series-opening game at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field.

The Panthers have now won four games in a row and five of their last six, improving to 13-10 overall. Andres Rodriguez picked up the win in relief with Alex Carpenter nailing down his sixth save with a scoreless ninth.

Florida Tech had seven hits in the game with two each from Raul Quintero at the top of the order and two from Sam Schner at the bottom.

Drew Holweger got the start for PBA and pitched well over seven innings before a walk to start the decisive eighth got him yanked. Panthers starter Boris Villa got his pitch count up and couldn’t make it out of the fourth.

Florida Tech got on the board first in the bottom of the third when Schner and Quintero hit back-to-back singles. Quintero would later steal second base, the 48th of his Panthers career, moving him into ninth place all-time in Panthers history. Rodnie Bernard would later reach on an error allowing Schner to score the first run of the night. 

PBA would grab the lead in the top of the fourth thanks to an error and three walks in the inning. Villa would leave after loading the bases with one of those walks and after Villa hit Ramon Machado to force in a run and give the Sailfish a 2-1 lead, Matt DiNenna came out of the bullpen to get the final out. 

Villa went 3.2 innings allowing four hits and walking four while striking out five. The two runs on his line were both unearned. He threw 83 pitches, 42 for strikes.

The Panthers would tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. Schner would draw a leadoff walk and steal second. Quintero’s sacrifice bunt got him to third and a Jakob Newton RBI single would make it 2-2.

The eighth inning was a wild one. Rodriguez was on the mound and Carlos Lara hitting a pop-up that was dropped on the infield for an error. Lara rounded first and when the ball was dropped he went toward second only to see the ball quickly retrieved.  He scampered back to first and was originally called safe, but the call was overturned after a discussion between the umpires. Sean Houck would walk later in the inning and after a passed ball got him to second, he would get to third on a sac fly and eventually score on a wild pitch, giving the visitors a 3-2 lead.

(Maris hit – Courtesy of Florida Tech Baseball Twitter)

A walk by Holweger to Newton started the eighth and he was relieved by Jake Sciarrotta. A sac bunt got Newton to second and led to another pitching change. Ryan Webster got an out but a wild pitch and a walk put Panthers at the corners. After another pitching change, a walk loaded the bases and Alec Eldridge would draw a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at three. Blaise Maris would get the only hit of the inning, a two-run single that made it 5-3. Four pitchers allowed five walks in the frame.

PBA got a runner to second and had the tying run at the plate, but Carpenter was able to end the game without allowing a run.

For more info: PBA @ Florida Tech Box Score

These two teams will meet again Sunday in West Palm Beach with a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m.