AUBURNDALE, FL – A 2-run double by Makayla Palmer snapped a 1-1 tie in the top of the fifth inning, and Rachel Pence scattered four hits over seven innings of work in the pitcher's circle as Florida Tech downed Florida Southern 3-1 in the first of their three-game series.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Florida Tech (22-21, 7-9 Sunshine State Conference) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, an inning in which the Panthers had two batters hit by a pitch, one single, and one draw a bases-loaded walk that forced in the run. Hailey Leonard was the first Panther to reach base in that inning when she was hit in the leg, and it was Leonard who eventually scored on a walk by Krista Patterson.
- In the bottom of the inning, Desirae Klumpp legged out an infield single with two out and Shannon Bell followed with a ground ball to short. The attempted force out at second went awry though as the throw sailed into right field, sending Klumpp to third and extending the inning for Florida Southern (13-20, 4-12). As Bell broke for second on a stolen base attempt, Palmer had a pitch go off her glove, giving Klumpp a chance to score from third. The Moccasin leftfielder was able to get in under the tag of Pence at the plate, tying the game at one on the passed ball.
- Two innings later Florida Tech again used a hit batter to take the lead. Again it was Leonard, who was plunked for the 15th time this season, a number that leads the SSC. A steal by Leonard and a fielder's choice where the Mocs were unable to get an out resulted at Panthers at first and third with none out, and another stolen base put two runners in scoring position. That's when Palmer came through for the Panthers with her double into the gap in right center, though Donna Ryan combined with second baseman Leah Pemberton to throw her out at third. The play though resulted in two runs and gave Florida Tech the winning margin.
- Florida Southern threatened in the fifth and sixth innings but Pence worked out of danger each time. Singles by Klumpp and Bell gave the Mocs runners at first and third with two out in the fifth, but when Bell broke from first on a stolen base attempt to draw the throw from Palmer she was tagged out just before Klumpp touched the plate coming down the line from third. In the sixth, the Moccasins got a walk and stolen base from Erica Morrissey with one out, but Pence got back-to-back strikeouts to close the door in that inning.
- Pence improved to 15-14 with her complete game win, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. Brandi Jones took the loss for Florida Southern, falling to 2-10 after giving up three runs on just five hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Klumpp went 2-for-2 in her only trips to the plate Friday night. Bell and Morrissey had the Moccasins' other hits.
- Katie Maiello went 3-for-4 for Florida Tech after having only two hits in limited playing time coming into the game. That meant the two leftfielders in the game combined for five of the nine total hits.
- Jones had hit only three batters in 95.0 innings this year prior to hitting four on Friday.
- Bell made a spectacular catch in the top of the first inning to take at least a double away from Leonard as she crashed through the centerfield fence and held on to the ball.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern and Florida Tech conclude their series Saturday afternoon in a doubleheader at 1 p.m.