Florida Tech softball returned home Tuesday after a tough weekend and got a doubleheader sweep of the Mercy College Mavericks. They won game one 8-0 in six innings and took game two, 3-1.
Samantha Guider (9-6) was in the circle for the Panthers and she was stellar in game one, throwing a complete-game two-hitter that saw her strike out three without allowing a walk. She threw 47 of her 58 pitches for strikes.
“Sam is a bulldog in the circle she goes out and competes,” said Panthers coach Val Silvestrini by phone after the game. “They had two hits because she did a really good job keeping them off balance.”
She got plenty of help from her offense as game one saw the Panthers score in all but the fifth inning. Chloe French got them on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI single. A walk to Tori Szrom in the second saw Mercy starter Mia Harris get lifted for Angelina Oquendo.
Oquendo got two outs, but a single by Mikayla Wessel put two runners on for Cheyenne Nelson. She wasted little time putting one over the wall, and just like that, it was 4-0. The home run was the second of the year for Nelson and the fourth of her career. It also extended Nelson’s hitting streak to 20 games.
“She is an outstanding athlete and her discipline at the plate is outstanding,” said Silvestrini of Nelson. “She forces the pitchers to put the ball over the plate, and her swing is flawless.”
Silvestrini expanded on that, saying that there was a net used in practice and Cheyenne was batting. “She was taking pitches I would have swung at,” she said.
Mikayla Lewin would double in the bottom of the third and she scored on the play after a two-base error in the outfield, giving Tech a 5-0 lead. Whitney Ellis then reached on an error to start the fourth and would come home later in the inning as another error on Wessel’s bunt single made it 6-0. French would drive in a run on a groundout and it was 7-0.
The Panthers put an end to this one in the sixth, as Nelson Nelson reached on a fielder’s choice and promptly stole second. She would score on a single from French, ending the game.
The Panthers had nine hits in game one with most of the damage coming at the top of the lineup. Wessel had two to go with an RBI, Nelson had two including the three-run homer, French had two and she added three RBIs and Lewin had one with a run scored.
For more info: Mercy College @ Florida Tech Box Score
The win in game one snapped a four-game losing streak and the win in game two started a new winning streak.
Kelsie Rivers (4-3) got the start in game two, giving the Panthers five innings of two-hit softball, allowing one run and walking one. She threw 48 pitches, 29 strikes.
Nelson drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the first. After French singled to put runners at the corners before Lewin’s sac fly made it 1-0.
Florida Tech (23-14) scored twice in the fourth inning, helped by an error that put Mya Ogbodiewgu at first with one out. She never stopped running and got to second on the play. She would score on a double by Ellis to make it 2-0. Peyton Anders infield single got Ellis to third, and she later scored on Wessel’s sac fly, making it 3-0.
This was only the second start of the season for Ogbodiewgu, who made a nice catch in foul territory in the second inning, to start what would be a solid defensive day at third base.
“Mya did amazing,” Silvestrini said. “She was consistent at third, and made every play.”
Nelson would extend her hitting streak to 21 later in the inning with a bunt single that probably went five feet in front of the plate. When you have her speed, that’s all you need. She later stole second but was left there.
Mercy’s only run of the day came in the fifth inning when Nicole Smart doubled and scored on a Sabrina Gonzalez sac fly.
Rivers would give way to Allison Platon to start the sixth and Platon allowed just one hit over the final two innings. She struck out one and walked one. She threw 23 pitches, 12 for strikes. She gave up a single to the first batter she faced, but that runner was called out attempting to steal second because she left before Platon released the ball.
Mercy left Melbourne with a record of 2-18 and an 11-game losing streak.
For more info: Mercy @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
The Panthers return to Sunshine State Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at home against Florida Southern. Friday’s series opener is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Nancy Bottge Field.
“We can’t worry about who we are playing,” said Silvestrini. “We need to build our confidence and play our game, if we can do that, we will be fine.”