MELBOURNE, Fla. (Softball) – Florida Tech extended its win streak to a six-year high 11 games with a doubleheader sweep of Eckerd, 4-0 and 4-3, Saturday afternoon at Nancy Bottge Field. The Panthers’ win streak is their longest since they won 12 straight during the 2007 season.
With the two wins, FIT is now in a first-place tie with Barry University in the Sunshine State Conference.
“We hit the ball well all day,” head coach Val Silvestrini said. “We didn’t get as many hits in the first game, but we were hitting the ball right at them. We scored our runs in a couple innings, but the girls are working so hard. This is the hardest working team I’ve ever had. They earn every single win because of how hard they work. Our schedule is going to get more challenging. We have the confidence and we know we can beat the best teams. We need to continue to do our best every single game.”
Amanda Smith (13-5) started both games after pitching all of FIT’s 10-2 win in five innings on Friday. In game one on Saturday, the junior transfer from St. Johns River State College fired a complete-game two hitter. She didn’t walk a single batter and struck out two.
Amanda Bueno brought in pinch runner Kyla Palaschak for the game’s first run in the fourth inning. The Panthers added three more on two hits and two errors in the fifth. Bueno finished the game with two of the team’s seven hits.
In game two, Eckerd’s lineup found success against Smith. The Tritons plated two runs in the second inning on a single to right field by Kirby Parnell.
FIT (20-12, 7-2 SSC) tied the game and took a two-run lead in the following inning. Kara Dickinson brought in the go-ahead run on a triple to right field. Nicole Shinsky then ripped a base hit up the middle to score Dickinson.
Eckerd (14-17, 2-7 SSC) threatened in a big way in the sixth as it loaded the bases with one out. Lindsey Nolan came in for Smith and recorded the final two outs without allowing a run.
The Tritons cut their deficit to one on a double by Kara Oberer in the seventh inning. However, Nolan induced back-to-back pop outs for her first save of her FIT career.
“We know [Nolan] can do it,” Silvestrini said. “She has a lot of spin on the ball. It takes a lot of character to come in with one out and the bases loaded. She gave us a chance to win. She did a great job.”
Elaine Brown went 3-for-4 at the plate as the Panthers totaled 10 hits.
FIT will travel to Northwood University on Tuesday for a 2 p.m. doubleheader. It will then resume Sunshine State Conference play on Saturday, March 23 with a three-game series at Lynn.