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Defense Helps Secure Panthers Fifth Straight Win

Header pic: Alec Eldridge  – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics

Florida Tech baseball hung on to beat Northwood University 7-4 at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field on Monday, bringing their winning streak to five games and improving their overall record to 16-5.

The Panthers had to come from behind to do it, as Northwood scored twice in the top of the first inning against Panthers starter Mitchell Harding.

Back-to-back one-out singles brought Rhett Evans to the plate and he brought both runners in to make it 2-0. Evans tried to stretch his double into a triple on the play and he was nailed at third in a 9-5-3 putout started by Brett Parrish.

Jakob Newton extended his hitting streak to 17 games with an infield single in the bottom of the first, but the Panthers were held off the board for the first four innings. Harding kept the Timberwolves quiet through that time, striking out eight batters through four frames.

The Florida Tech offense had a familiar spark plug in the fifth inning. With one out, Paul Castillo hit his sixth triple of the season. He is three away from the single-season record of nine and it is only early March. Hayden Kimball doubled him home to make it 2-1 and after Sam Schner walked, Dylan Dohanos reached on an error bringing Kimball home with the tying run. A double steal followed and Schner made it home before Dohanos was thrown out at second, putting Florida Tech in front 3-2.

David Jeffers doubled to start the Northwood sixth and eventually moved to third, bringing Evans to the plate. Evans got a fastball and gave it a ride, only to have Newton leap and reach over the left-field fence to bring back what would have been a home run ball. Instead, it was the final out of the inning.

Newton started the bottom of the inning but flew out. Parrish then walked and went to second on a single by Owens. An error moved Parrish to third and that brought Alec Eldridge to the plate. He got a pitch to hit and did just that, parking it over the left-field wall for a three-run home run, and extending the Panthers’ lead to 6-2.

Harding (3-1) got through six innings before giving way to Andres Rodriguez to start the seventh. Harding allowed two runs on six hits and struck out eight. He threw 67 pitches, 46 for strikes.

The Timberwolves (9-7) got a run in the seventh on a groundout by Myles Beale to make it 6-3. They would add one more in the eighth on a Khale Showers RBI single, closing the gap to 6-4. That would end the day for Rodriguez, who gave way to Panthers’ closer Alex Carpenter who got the final out of the inning with a strikeout.

Florida Tech would get that run back in the bottom of the inning on a wild pitch. The play at the plate was close and was argued by Northwood, but not surprisingly, the call stood and it was 7-4. Carpenter struck out the side in the ninth, picking up his third save of the season.

Owens and Eldridge both had 2-for-4 days. Owens scored twice and the home run gave Eldridge his three RBIs.

For more info: Northwood @ Florida Tech Box Score

Florida Tech is back at it Tuesday (tomorrow) afternoon against Winona State. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.