SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2014
Panthers Win Two Games to Finish Opening Weekend Undefeated
MELBOURNE, Fla. (Softball) – Florida Tech (3-0) wrapped up opening weekend with a 10-2 victory in five innings over Fort Valley State and an 8-1 win against Webber International on Sunday at Nancy Bottge Field. With their three wins this weekend, the Panthers are off to their best start since they began the 2005 season at 5-0.
“I’m really happy with how our pitchers are throwing and how our offense is stepping up,” head coach Val Silvestrini said.
FIT broke out for seven runs for the second time in two days against Fort Valley State on Sunday. Ahead 2-0 going into the bottom of the second inning, the Panthers put a seven-spot on the scoreboard by capitalizing on three Wildcat errors, four wild pitches and five passed balls.
Sophomore transfer Rachel Ionata held Fort Valley State scoreless through the first three innings. In the fourth, however, the Wildcats received an RBI double from Crystal Richmond and an RBI single from Bia Stearns to cut their deficit to 10-2. With two outs and the bases loaded, freshman second baseman Ashley Marano made a diving catch to her left to keep the Panthers’ lead at eight runs.
The first Wildcat reached base in the fifth inning, but Ionata recorded three straight outs to preserve the eight-run win. The victory was her first in a Panther uniform.
Brigit Godfrey, a junior transfer from the College of the Sequoias, led the Panthers with two hits in three plate appearances.
In game two, Taylor Smith (1-0) set the tone in her first appearance of the season. She allowed just one unearned run on two hits and struck out two.
She gave way to freshman Rachel Pence, who threw a perfect game in FIT’s season-opener on Saturday. She surrendered her first hit to the third batter she faced in the fourth inning. After that point, she shut the Lady Warriors down in order in the last three innings for her first save.
Kelsey Donahue, Ashley Montion and Taylor Peterson each had two hits in the game.
“Webber challenged us in the final game,” Silvestrini said. “They hit the ball well and our defense played really well. We only gave up three hits.”
Prior to the Panthers’ game against Webber International, former assistant coach Drema Moody threw out the first pitch. Moody has been a strong supporter of Panther Softball and coached FIT during Dr. Nancy Bottge’s tenure.
FIT dedicated its three games this weekend to Elaine Brown’s father, Mike Brown, for his support of the softball program. Mike passed away during the offseason.
Up next for the Panthers is the Eckerd College Spring Invitational at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater. They will begin the five-game, three-day invite on Friday against Armstrong Atlantic at 7 p.m. Live stats will be available for all five games at FloridaTechSports.com/live.