MELBOURNE, FL – Jenna Weldon went deep for the fourth time this year, and Aubrey Ehlers pitched four strong innings out of the bullpen, but Florida Tech used three runs in the first two innings to take control early and went on to a 4-1 win over Florida Southern on Friday.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The Panthers (27-18, 11-11 Sunshine State Conference) struck for two runs in the bottom of the first when they put three of their first four hitters on base against Kristen Beacham. The first of those was a leadoff single by Xiarysse Emerenciana, who stole second and came home on a one-out single by Jessica Callahan. Makayla Palmer followed with a double to left center, driving in Emerenciana with the second run.
- Beacham got the first two batters in the bottom of the second, but an error put Emerenciana on second with two out and Mikayla Wessel drove her in with a base hit to right. The Panthers threatened again in the third inning when their first two batters reached base on walks, but Ehlers entered and got three consecutive outs with runners in scoring position to keep it a 3-0 game.
- Florida Tech pitcher Melanie Murphy had a perfect game going through four innings and extended that into the fifth when Zierra Flodman led off that inning with a fly ball to left. That's where it ended though as Weldon hit a 1-2 pitch from Murphy over the leftfield fence for her fourth home run of the season.
- The Panthers got that run back in the bottom of the sixth by scoring on a two-out throwing error after a two-out pinch-hit single by Alaina Perry. That unearned run was the only run allowed by Ehlers, who was outstanding in relief for the Moccasins (23-16, 10-15). The junior went 4.0 innings after keeping two inherited runners on base, giving up just two hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
- Murphy threw a complete game for Florida Tech, allowing only two hits with eight strikeouts and no walks as she upped her record to 14-7. She lowered her league-leading earned run average to 1.04. After Weldon's home run in the fifth inning, the Mocs' only other hit came from Flodman in the seventh.
- Beacham suffered only her third loss of the season against eight wins. The sophomore gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits in 2.0 innings-plus, walking three with no strikeouts.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Ehlers' relief appearance was her 19th of the season, setting a new Florida Southern record. The previous mark of 18 was set two years ago by Hannah Loyer.
- Weldon's fourth home run is one shy of the Florida Southern freshman record currently held by Kellie Robinson (1989), Sarah Kohlbrenner (2004), and Angela Williams (2006).
- Palmer had two of Florida Tech's six hits, both of them doubles, and also walked once for a perfect day at the plate.
- Murphy has won her last five starts and allowed just four runs on 19 hits in 41.0 innings during that time, which included a 13-inning win over Nova Southeastern.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern and Florida Tech will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m., which wraps up their three-game series.