On Tuesday, Florida Tech softball won big at home, beating Emory & Henry 13-5 and 14-2, ending both games in five innings due to the run rule. The Panthers improved to 19-8 overall.
Game one was close early, but the Panthers scored eight runs over the final two innings to put it out of reach.
Allison Platon (2-0) got the win in relief and the Florida Tech offense had 11 hits in the game, led by Ashley Campbell who had a 3-for-3 day in the nine spot. She had an RBI and scored three times. Mikayla Wessel was 2-for-2 with three runs scored, and Cheyenne Nelson was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Game one was a back-and-forth affair early. The Panthers took the lead in the bottom of the first. Wessel was hit and then stole second. She scored on a Mikayla Lewin single, and Lewin would later come home on an RBI single by Chloe French.
Emory & Henry answered quickly in the top of the second against Panthers starter Kelsie Rivers. Emily Scaggs singled and Morgan Silvis then hit a two-run home run to tie the game. An error led to another run and Lydia Taylor capped the big inning for the Wasps with a two-run double, putting the visitors up 5-2.
“It took us some time to adjust to the strike zone,” said Panthers coach Val Silvestrini by phone after today’s games. “They got Kelsie’s timing and scored on her, but at the end of the day I think our pitchers did a better job of figuring out the strike zone.”
Rivers finished the inning but she gave way to Platon to start the third. Rivers allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits. She walked three and did not register a strikeout. She threw 32 of her 61 pitches for strikes.
The offense picked Rivers up in the bottom of the second. Whitney Ellis walked and Campbell singled before Wessel drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Lewin then cleared the bases with a double off the wall, tying the game 5-5.
Emory & Henry loaded the bases in the third against Platon, but she worked out of it. Florida Tech would take the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Ellis walked and stole second, coming home on a single by Campbell. Back-to-back singles by Nelson and Wessel loaded the bases, before Lewin’s sac fly made it 7-5. Jolie Miracle grounded out to score Nelson, giving the Panthers an 8-5 lead.
The Panthers closed the game out in the bottom of the fifth. Ella Chang Gibson walked and Tori Szrom came up and smoked a home run to make it 10-5. It was her third of the season.
“We know Tori has that kind of power,” said Silvestrini. “She has five walk-off hits for us, so she loves coming up with runners on base. She likes to be in those situations.”
Even though this was not a walk-off for Szrom she came through in a big spot and has had a knack for that in her career. With this only being early March, she will have plenty of chances to do more damage in 2022.
The inning continued with a single from Campbell to put runners at second and third. Nelson would single home the Panthers’ 11th run and Wessel’s single would load the bases.
Jolie Miracle was hit by a pitch, scoring Campbell and Gibson would reach on an error, scoring the run that ended the game, due to the eight-run differential.
Platon pitched three innings, walking three and striking out three. She threw 54 pitches (29 strikes) and got the win.
For more info: Emory & Henry @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)
After putting up 11 hits in game one, Florida Tech got 13 in game two. Lewin led the charge with a 3-for-4 performance with five RBIs and two runs scored. She had the big blow in the second game. Nelson was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored. French, Ellis, and Campbell had two hits apiece in game two.
The Wasps (12-9) loaded the bases against Florida Tech starter Sam Guider in the top of the first and a groundout made it 1-0. A fielder’s choice made it 2-0, and Hailey Mince followed that with a single. Emily Scaggs was tagged out at second on the play and Taylor advanced to third.
Taylor tried to score on the play and actually went over Gibson’s glove at home and was initially called safe. The problem was, even though Gibson missed the tag, in her attempt to avoid the tag, Taylor missed the plate.
“We saw that she missed the plate and we told Ella to see if she was gonna come back and touch the plate and she never did,” said Silvestrini. “I think the umpire made a mistake with the safe sign. He should not have done anything.”
“He got the call right in my opinion, but they did try to protest,” Silvestrini continued. “You can’t protest that call, because that’s umpire mechanics.”
There was a lengthy argument from the Wasps coaching staff that ended up fruitless for the visitors. “They argued that and they were arguing about the strike zone,” said Silvestrini. “I think it got into their heads.”
To Silvestrini’s point, Florida Tech erased the deficit quickly, picking up three runs in the bottom of the first. Lewin and French had RBI singles to tie the game at two and Gibson’s sac fly made it 3-2. They would add two more runs in the second inning, on a fielder’s choice by Campbell, and an RBI single by Nelson that brought Campbell home with the fifth run.
The game was decided in the bottom of the third. French doubled and came home on a Gibson single. Campbell would knock in two with a double later in the inning to make it 8-2 and Nelson had a bunt single and took a wide turn around first to purposely get caught in a rundown and it worked, allowing Campbell to score the ninth run.
Wessel was then hit by a pitch and Lewin promptly put one over the wall for a three-run home run, giving the Panthers a 12-2 lead.
“Mac has been tremendous for us the last two weeks,” Silvestrini said. “She has been working so hard on her swing and you can see that.”
The final runs came in the bottom of the fourth. Campbell would double and go to third on a flyout. Wessel would then walk and steal second. The throw went into center field and Campbell scampered home. Lewin would then double off the wall, bringing Wessel home to make it 14-2.
Guider (7-3) would allow a single in the fifth before recording the final out. She retired 13 of the last 15 batters she faced and got the complete-game victory. She allowed two runs on five hits, striking out three. She threw 43 of her 58 pitches for strikes.
For more info: Emory & Henry @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
The Panthers will get back into conference play when they travel to West Palm Beach to take on Palm Beach Atlantic in a series that starts Friday at 6:00 p.m.
“Our conference is very competitive,” Silvestrini said. “There were some big upsets in the conference this weekend and we are excited to be playing PBA this weekend.