The Florida Tech Panthers won a weekend series in St. Petersburg, beating Eckerd Friday night before splitting a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Panthers jumped out to a 5-0 lead in game one and had to battle back for a 9-6 win before the Tritons came back for a 3-0 win in game two.
Florida Tech had 16 hits in the game one win with Mikayla Wessel and Mikayla Lewin hitting back-to-back in the order and getting three hits apiece. Lewin hit the go-ahead home run for Florida Tech in the fifth. Jolie Miracle had a three-hit day as well, hitting a home run in the first inning. Chloe French had two hits in the first game.
The first game was a battle,” said Panthers coach Val Silvestrini by phone after the game. “It was a great team win for us.”
Samantha Guider got the game one start for Florida Tech against Kensley Durrance. The Panthers got off to a quick start with Nelson and Wessel hitting back-to-back singles and each steal second base. After Lewin was hit to load the bases, Tori Szrom reached on a fielder’s choice to score Nelson. Panthers coach Val Silvestrini put Wessel and Szrom in motion and they pulled off a double steal of second and home to make it 2-0.
Chloe French was hit and she stole second, putting runners at second and third for Miracle. She came through with a 3-run blast to right field, giving Florida Tech a 5-0 lead.
“It was a high pitch out of the zone and she did a great job to be able to hit it out,” said Silvestrini of Miracle’s home run.
The Tritons got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a Lauren Margolis RBI double. They would get two more in the second. Brenna Lokeinsky’s RBI single made it 5-2 and Lokeinsky later scored on a single from Jenice Casanas. That was the end of the day for Guider as Allison Platon came in to get the final out of the inning.
Eckerd got another run in the fourth on a Casanas single and cut the Panthers lead to 5-4. Kelsie Rivers (4-2) was called on to pitch the fifth for the Panthers and she gave up a two-run home run to Sara Soterakis, putting Eckerd in front for the first time, 6-5.
The lead would not last, as Wessel tripled to the gap in left-center with two outs. Lewin followed with a two-run homer just over the wall, and the Panthers went up 7-6 on Lewin’s fourth jack of the season.
“That was a big hit from Mac,” Silvestrini said. “She is a great hitter and we know she has the ability to hit every ball hard.”
French and Miracle singled in the top of the seventh and Hendrian pinch-hit for Ashley Campbell. She would single to load the bases, and Whitney Ellis came through with a two-run double, extending the Panthers lead to 9-6.
Hendrian retired the Tritons in order to pick up her fourth save. Rivers got the win, pitching one inning, allowing two runs and striking out two.
“As a freshman, Alex has stepped up big time,” said Silvestrini. “She is a bulldog in the circle and always gives us a chance to win. She has been a nice surprise for us this year.”
For more info: Florida Tech @ Eckerd Box Score (Game 1)
Game two started out as a pitcher’s duel between Hendrian and Hannah Perkins. The first two innings saw the hurlers retire the first six batters they faced. Hannah Burge walked to start the third and she would get to trot home ahead of Brenna Lokeinsky’s two-run home run.
That was all the support Perkins would need as she retired 16 Panthers in a row before Ellis singled to break up the no-hit bid. Nelson would single in the inning, but Perkins was able to escape without giving up a run.
An RBI single off the bat of Brooklyn Cardona gave the Tritons an insurance run. Florida Tech did not go quietly as French doubled with one out in the seventh. She would go to third on an error after Miracle’s single. Ella Chang Gibson then gave it a ride, but Cardona made the play in right and threw French out at the plate to end the game.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Eckerd Box Score (Game 2)
The loss ended a seven-game winning streak for the Panthers, but the series gives them a 17-8 overall record including 5-4 in the conference.
Saturday’s games closed out a seven-game week that started on Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep against Wilmington and continued Thursday against Tiffin, before wrapping up with the three games this weekend. Florida Tech won six of the seven
“It was a tough week for us,” Silvestrini said. “Not only did we play a lot of games, but it was mid-term week as well. I am very proud of all these women for getting through it and doing so well.”
Florida Tech returns home on Tuesday for a doubleheader against Emory & Henry College. Game one gets underway at 1:00 p.m.