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FIT Extends Unbeaten Streak to Six
The Panthers wrap up the Eckerd College Spring Invitational on Sunday with games against Lindenwood (Mo.) and West Florida.
The Panthers wrap up the Eckerd College Spring Invitational on Sunday with games against Lindenwood (Mo.) and West Florida.
CLEARWATER, Fla. (Softball) – Florida Tech is off to its best start in recent memory after earning a 2-0 win over Shorter and an 11-3 victory over Lee in six innings on Saturday at the Eddie C. Moore Complex. The Panthers are now 3-0 in the Eckerd College Spring Invitational and 6-0 on the season.

Their 6-0 mark bests their previous best start in recent memory of 5-0 recorded during the 2005 season. The win over Shorter was head coach Val Silvestrini’s 100th career victory.

“I’m really happy with how the team is playing,” she said. “They don’t really care who’s in front of them. They go and play their best. We know it’s up to us and not anyone else.”

Freshman Rachel Pence had yet another strong outing for FIT in the first game of the day against Shorter. The Sunshine State Conference Pitcher of the Week presented by VALIC registered her second shutout in three starts, firing a complete game three-hitter. She finally walked her first two batters of her collegiate career after pitching 19 2/3 innings. She also struck out five to increase her strikeouts total to 25 in four appearances.

The Jacksonville, Fla. native received all the run support she needed in the fourth inning. Following a 23-minute rain delay that was called with Amanda Bueno ahead 2-0 in the count, she cracked a two-run double to left-center field to score Ashley Montion and Elizabeth Eby when play resumed.

FIT outhit Shorter 4-3 and did not commit an error in the game.

“The first game was really tough with the weather conditions,” Silvestrini said. “We had to stop the game, but the girls were very relaxed. They knew they didn’t have any control over the weather. As soon as we resumed, we had runners in scoring position and got a double. That was enough for us to win the game. Rachel Pence threw an amazing game against a really good hitting team. She shut them down. We had great defense and Amanda Bueno hit the ball really well. Even though she had one hit, she had two line drives.”

The Panthers trailed for the first time this season after Lee took a 2-1 lead in the third inning of game two. However, in the fourth, the Panthers sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs. Freshman Jessica Callahan took a 2-2 pitch over the left-center field wall for her first career home run and the team's first of the season. Bueno plated the inning’s final run with a double to right-center field to bring in Taylor Peterson.

Callahan delivered again in the fifth with a three-run bases clearing double to left-center field. Even after that hit, she wasn’t done. She scored Brigit Godfrey for the game’s final run with two outs in the sixth inning.

Callahan finished 5-for-5 with six RBIs and one run scored. Godfrey went 4-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. Nicole Shinsky also was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Bueno walked twice, scored one run and had a hit in her lone at-bat in the game.

The Panthers totaled 17 hits to Lee’s nine.

Taylor Smith (2-0) earned the decision with six solid innings. She didn’t walk a single batter and held Lee to three runs.

“I think we hit the ball really well today,” Silvestrini said. “There were two innings where we went through the entire lineup (against Lee). Jessica Callahan had an outstanding day going 5-for-5 with six RBIs. Brigit Godfrey and Nicole Shinsky found their timing and produced for the team. We also had great defense and a great pitching performance by Taylor (Smith). We gave up three runs, but we knew we could score a lot more than that. The team is playing with a lot of confidence and playing one game at a time. That team played in the NAIA National Championship last year.”

On Sunday, FIT will take on Lindenwood (Mo.) at 10 a.m. and West Florida at 12:30 p.m. at the Eddie C. Moore Complex. Live stats will be available for both games at FloridaTechSports.com/live.
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