Florida Tech Panthers Sports Roundup

By  //  March 15, 2014

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Men’s Lacrosse Falls in SSC Opener, 13-7

LACROSSE – Freshman CJ Nichols scored three goals but the first ever Sunshine State Conference contest for Florida Tech (1-5, 0-1 SSC) and Saint Leo University (5-2, 1-0 SSC) went to the Lions, 13-7, yesterday evening at Hustler Stadium. 

CJ Nichols scored three goals but the Panthers fell in their inaugural SSC game yesterday. (Florida Tech image)

CJ Nichols scored three goals but the Panthers fell in their inaugural SSC game yesterday. (Florida Tech image)

Saint Leo struck first and took a 4-1 lead into the second quarter but a man-up goal by Charlie Morrisette, and back-to-back goals by Nick Wynne cut FIT’s deficit to 6-4 heading into the second half.

However, the Lions took a commanding lead and defeated the Panthers for the second time in three meetings between the two programs.

Jordan Hayes (0-4, 0-1 SSC) recorded 11 saves but left the game with an injury in the third quarter.

Backup Zack Kunkel turned away three shots in his collegiate debut. Dave Moore (5-2, 1-0 SSC) earned his fifth victory with nine saves, and faceoff specialist Will Cothron won 15-of-23 faceoffs on Friday.

Zack Kunkel

Zack Kunkel

Mike Cherry caused two turnovers, the second time that the freshman forced two or more turnovers this season.

Morrisette finished with one goal and one assist, Brian Bacarella added one goal, Wynne recorded two goals and one assist, and Nichols registered a team-high four points (three goals and one assist). For the Lions, Ryan Burke finished with three goals and two assists, and the defense caused eight turnovers.

The Panthers conclude their four-game homestand on Wednesday, March 19 at 7 p.m. against No. 6 and undefeated University of Tampa (6-0).

Peterson’s Walk-Off Solo Home Run Guides Florida Tech to 6-5 Win

SOFTBALL – Taylor Peterson led Florida Tech to a 6-5 win in its series opener against Lynn by cracking a walk-off solo home run in the seventh inning on Friday at Nancy Bottge Field and the Panthers improve to 19-10 overall and 5-2 in the Sunshine State Conference with the win, while the Fighting Knights drop to 16-14, 0-7 SSC.

Taylor Peterson sent the Panthers home with their third straight Sunshine State Conference series opening win yesterday. (Florida Tech image)

Taylor Peterson sent the Panthers home with their third straight Sunshine State Conference series opening win yesterday. (Florida Tech image)

Peterson fell behind early in the at-bat as she was down 0-2. She then took a ball from Lynn starter Missy Montgomery before belting her second home run of the season.

“I told the girls that it wasn’t our best day,” head coach Val Silvestrini said.

“There were a lot of things that weren’t going our way. I thought we were hitting the ball well, but we were hitting it right at them especially when we had runners on base and couldn’t find a way to score. There were some close calls that didn’t go our way. The girls kept their composure and fought the entire game. It was a great way to win this game with a walk-off home run.”

Val Silvestrini

Val Silvestrini

Taylor Smith (7-5) relieved Panther starter Rachel Pence at the start of the sixth inning. She was nearly perfect in relief as she gave up just one hit in two innings of work for her seventh win of the season.

“Taylor Smith came in really strong and pitched two innings,” Silvestrini added. “She shut them down. That was huge for us because they were hitting well. She stopped their momentum and gave us a chance to score a few runs to win the game.”

The Panthers scored one run in each of the last three innings to overcome a 5-3 deficit going into the fifth inning.

FIT finished with 10 hits to Lynn’s nine. Elaine Brown, Brigit Godfrey and Peterson had two hits each to lead the team. Godfrey also scored three runs. Peterson finished with a pair of RBIs. The two teams will meet again on the diamond on Saturday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Nancy Bottge Field. Live audio and stats will be available for both games at FloridaTechSports.com/live.


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