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Pitching Powers Panthers to Doubleheader Sweep

Panthers softball got two complete games in the circle from Samantha Guider and Alex Hendrian on Saturday, helping them sweep the Florida Southern Moccasins 4-2 and 7-0 in a Sunshine State Conference doubleheader at Nancy Bottge Field. The two wins give the Panthers the series win after FSC won the series opener on Friday, 4-3.

“Last night we were tense and losing 4-0,” said Panthers coach Val Silvestrini of Friday’s loss. “We had five errors and two baserunning errors in that game and still only lost by one. I think if we cut those errors in half, we win that game.” 

The Panthers’ offense got Guider four runs to work with on Saturday in game one. Mikayla Wessel was the only Panther with two hits in the contest, going 2-for-2 with a walk.

Wessel led off with a walk against Florida Southern starter Lane Edgington. She would steal second and come home an out later on a groundout by Chloe French. 

Guider (10-6) gave up a single early but retired 10 of 11 before a runner reached on an error in the top of the fourth. She would walk a runner in the fifth before the Panthers added to their lead in the bottom of the inning.

Ashley Campbell was hit by a pitch and raced home on a Whitney Ellis double to put the Panthers up 2-0. Wessel then beat out a bunt in front of the plate and Ellis went to third. A sac fly by Cheyenne Nelson would make it 3-0.

Nelson got that RBI but she did not get a hit in game one, ending her hitting streak at 22 games. She was one shy of tying the program record of 23, according to Silvestrini. 

Lewin would walk to start the bottom of the sixth and she moved to second on a Jolie Miracle single. After a Florida Southern pitching change, Ella Chang Gibson’s sac bunt moved the runners to second and third. A sac fly by Tori Szrom brought Lewin in with the Panthers’ fourth run.

Three straight singles started the seventh for the Mocs before Victoria Rodriguez hit into a fielder’s choice to get FSC on the board. A groundout by Mariah Rodriguez made it 4-2, but Guider got the final out, preserving the Panthers’ victory and tying the series at one game apiece.

Guider allowed two runs on five hits walking one and striking out three. She threw 51 of her 74 pitches for strikes.

For more info: FSC @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)

Game two was more of the same in the circle for the Panthers, this time a complete-game shutout out of the hand of Alex Hendrian

The Panthers’ offense had eight hits, resulting in seven runs, giving Hendrian plenty to work with. Ella Chang Gibson had three of those hits, including a three-run home run. She ended the day 3-for-3 with four RBIs.

Nelson got the Panthers off and running in the first with a walk, she would score on a Chloe French double. One out later, Miracle singled putting runners at the corners and they took the slow trip home moments later when Gibson got her first home run of the year, upping the Panthers lead to 4-0.

“I think Ella did a great job, battling a full count and fouling a couple of pitches off until she got a pitch that she squared up,” said Silvestrini. “I was so happy to see her get that home run.”

Lewin singled and stole second with one out in the bottom of the third. That brought Gibson to the plate again and she singled in another run, making it 5-0.

“I think that home run gave Ella the confidence to get that single in the third inning,” Silvestrini said. “She had a great day.”

A two-run double by Ellis in the bottom of the sixth put a bow on this doubleheader sweep.

Hendrian allowed just two hits in game two, but Silvestrini said she feels one of them should have been scored an error. Either way, she gets her eighth win of the season, striking out four in her complete-game performance. Three of those strikeouts came in the seventh inning as the Mocs used three pinch-hitters, who all were out on strikes. Hendrian faced 25 batters, walking just one and throwing 54 of her 83 pitches for strikes. 

As you would expect, Silvestrini was very pleased with the pitching by both Hendrian and Guider on this day.

“I think they both did a great job, they had a really good mindset going into the games and I think It helped that we scored first to have some runs for them to work with,” she said.

“I thought Alex did a great job keeping them off-balance,” she continued. “We know that Alex is capable of that and it was great to see her perform up to her potential.”

For more info: FSC @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2) 

Next up for the Panthers (25-15, 8-10 SSC) is a weekend series against Lynn, starting on Friday, April 1 at Nancy Bottge Field. The Fighting Knights will come in with an 11-22 record, including 0-15 in the Sunshine State Conference.

“They can hit and they are still competitive,” said Silvestrini of Lynn. “We need to show up and play our game because if we get behind and start stressing, the same thing that happened to us Friday will happen again.”

Friday’s game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. with Saturday’s doubleheader slated to start at 1:00 p.m.