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Panthers Comeback Falls Short against FSC

The Florida Southern Moccasins hung on for a 4-3 win over Florida Tech on Friday night at Nancy Bottge Field. It was only the second Sunshine State Conference win for the Mocs, who improved to 13-14 overall, while the Panthers dropped to 23-15 and 6-10 in the conference.

Alex Hendrian got the start for the Panthers and worked in and out of trouble in the first two innings. The Mocs scored an unearned run in the top of the third after two consecutive errors in the inning.

Three consecutive singles loaded the bases for Florida Southern with one out in the fourth. One out later Destiny Colgate’s two-run double made it 3-0. Myah Moy’s RBI single made it 4-0 and Kelsie Rivers came out of the bullpen to get the final out of the frame.

The Panthers got a run back in the bottom of the inning. Chloe French walked and Mikayla Lewin was hit by a pitch. After Jolie Miracle’s ground out moved both runners, Ella Chang Gibson hit a sac fly that scored French. Lewin was thrown out at third on the play, ending the inning.

The Mocs threatened in the top of the fifth but a heads-up play at third base kept the Mocs off the board. Ashley Campbell held the runner at third and the runner inexplicably took a few steps off the bag.  Shortstop Mikayla Wessel snuck behind her and took the throw from Campbell to tag her out and end the inning.

Tori Szrom singled to start the bottom of the fifth and Campbell walked. Wessel then reached on a fielder’s choice but took off for second to get caught in a rundown. Szrom was thrown out at home, and on the throw back to second, Campbell scored to make it 4-2.

Another error got the Mocs going in the top of the sixth. They eventually had runners at the corners but a fly-out resulted in a double play. The tag was made as the runner tried to return to first, but the ball was dropped and FSC was credited with another run. Panthers coach Val Silvestrini made her case that the tag was made and held long enough before the ball was dropped and the call was reversed in the Panthers’ favor, keeping the deficit at 4-2.

Florida Tech put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh with a Wessel triple and a Cheyenne Nelson RBI single, making it 4-3. Chloe French put together a good at-bat, fighting off good pitches from Mocs starter Kayla Hickey, before Hickey finally got her to fly out, ending the game.

For more info: FSC @ Florida Tech Box Score

Nelson had the Panthers’ only multi-hit night, going 2-for-4. Her single in the bottom of the first extended her hitting streak to 22 games.

The Panthers can still get the series win on Saturday, as they will wrap this series up with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader.