Florida Tech Uses 7th Inning To Lock Up Victory
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // February 28, 2015
Opens Conference play with a 'W'
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – With runs hard to come by on an exceptionally windy evening at the Turley Athletic Complex, Florida Tech rallied to gut out a 4-2 victory over Eckerd on Friday.
“It was one of those games,” said head coach Greg Berkemeier.
“It was difficult for either team to score with the wind howling in our face. Eckerd’s pitcher did an outstanding job. He’s (Jimmy Gutowski) thrown well in this conference for a year and a half already and he’s a tough one to face. We were able to find a way to stay alive, and I’m proud of the way the guys competed tonight.”
Senior right-hander Ashton Fronsoe tossed seven sharp innings, and Grant McKown delivered the go-ahead RBI in the seventh as Florida Tech picked up the ‘W’ in its Sunshine State Conference opener.
Seemingly becoming a regular occurrence, Fronsoe was stellar once again in earning his fourth win of the season. The Palm City, Florida native surrendered just four hits and one earned run, while striking out seven. Proving just how good he’s been thus far, Fronsoe’s earned run average actually rose to 0.71 in the effort.
“Fronsoe threw the ball well,” said Berkemeier. “He had one inning where he gave up some stuff, but other than that he was great.”
The Panthers didn’t waste any time jumping in front in the top of the first inning. Using a bit of “small ball”, second baseman Reid Neal drew a leadoff walk before moving to third on a groundout by McKown. With one away, catcher Austin Allen picked up his 18th RBI on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, giving Florida Tech the early 1-0 advantage.
Still 1-0 in the fourth, Eckerd’s Carter Cashman and Mike Abraham pieced together back-to-back hits to draw the score even at 1-1. Three batters later, Neal failed to coral a roller towards second, allowing Abraham to cross home and give the Tritons the 2-1 lead.
Eckerd would return the favor in the sixth, however, when Allen reached on an error by Lucas Luopa and then later scored on a wild pitch to knot the game back up at 2-2.
Following a one-out single in the top half of the seventh by Kevin Wortman, Abraham booted a grounder by Neal to set up the Panthers with runners on the corners. After fouling off a number of tough pitches, McKown finally found a ball he could handle and drove it into right-field for the eventual go-ahead run.
Adding insurance, Allen roped a double down the right-field line the very next at-bat to plate Neal, providing the Panthers with a two-run cushion.
On to close the game out in the ninth, Jerrod Leinhauser allowed a harmless two-out single before nailing the door shut to secure his second save of the season.
A credit to the pitching staff, FIT failed to walk a batter for the third time this year in Friday’s defeat of Eckerd.
FIT rounds out its three-game series with the Tritons in a Saturday doubleheader, which has now been rescheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
Live stats will be available, courtesy of Eckerd, at FloridaTechSports.com