Header pic: Cheyenne Nelson – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics
The Florida Tech softball team swept a doubleheader at Miami Shores on Saturday, beating Barry 5-3, and 1-0. With Saturday’s victories, the Panthers take two of three to open Sunshine State Conference play. The Buccaneers did win Friday’s series opener, 1-0.
Panthers coach Val Silvestrini was unable to make the trip with the Panthers but said she watched the games from home and was in contact with the team after the sweep was complete.
“I texted the team and said, great job winning the series,” she said. We got good pitching and were very disciplined at the plate. We got some great defense too.”
With Silvestrini back in Melbourne, the victories went to acting head coach Shanysse Emerenciana, who fans of Florida Tech no doubt remember fondly from her playing days, not so long ago.
Kelsie Rivers got the start in game one for the Panthers and induced a double-play in the bottom of the first. The game remained scoreless until the fourth when the Panthers got things going against Barry starter Angel Villanueva.
Cheyenne Nelson doubled and went to third on a ground ball. Ella Chang Gibson would knock her home with a fielder’s choice, and it was 1-0. A wild pitch moved runners to second and third, and Alex Hendrian doubled in both runners with a double down the line, giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead and forcing a pitching change for Barry.
Hendrian has shown her talents both in the circle and in the batters’ box this season, and coach Silvestrini is impressed with her efforts. “I knew she had the potential to do what she is doing,” she said. “I maybe wasn’t expecting it this quick, but I am just super excited that she is doing it as a freshman.”
Nelson would get her second double of the day with one out in the fifth and she would come home on a single off the bat of Jolie Miracle, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
A sac fly got Barry on the board in the fifth inning and they were threatening for more but Hendrian robbed Mac Stone-Folmar of a hit when she snared a wicked line drive snow coning it in her glove to end the inning.
The Panthers would add a run in the sixth inning on a single to left by Mikayla Wessel, bringing home pinch-runner Peyton Anders and making it a 5-1 game.
Those runs in the fifth and sixth would prove meaningful because a two-run double by Sofia Chamorro closed the gap to 5-3 and that would be the final.
Rivers (2-1) got the victory for the Panthers pitching 5.1 innings and allowing three runs on three hits. She walked five and struck out two, throwing 43 of her 82 pitches for strikes. Hendrian came on for the final 1.2 innings, retiring five of the six batters she faced. She threw 29 pitches (18 strikes).
For more info: Florida Tech @ Barry Box Score (Game 1)
Nelson had three of the Panther’s seven hits in game one, scoring twice.
Hendrian would start game two and allow just two hits, earning her first complete-game shutout.
Gibson would double to lead off the second but she was stranded at third.
The only run of he game came in the top of the third. A bunt single by Wessel and a single by Nelson put runners at first and third in the third. A double steal triggered a throw to second that Nelson beat and Wessel stole home, scoring the decisive run.
The only hits Hendrian (2-1) would allow would be a fourth-inning single to Stone-Folmar and a single in the sixth to Annabella Phillips.
Hendrian walked one and struck out two, outdueling Maci Barnhart who only gave up three hits for the Buccaneers.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Barry Box Score (Game 2)
Florida Tech moves to 8-5 overall and 2-1 in the Sunshine State Conference. They will travel to St. Augustine on Tuesday to play a doubleheader against Flagler. Game one will get underway at 4:00 p.m.