Panthers Sweep Doubleheader On Opening Day
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // February 2, 2015
Pence fanned nine strikeouts.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Florida Tech softball jumped out to a great start to the season Sunday afternoon, sweeping Webber International in a doubleheader at Nancy Bottge Field, 9-1 in five innings in game one and 7-6 in game two.
Following a perfect first inning from starting pitcher Rachel Pence in game one, Brigit Godfrey started off the season offensively for the Panthers by singling to second and immediately advancing to second on a stolen base.
Elizabeth Eby advanced Godfrey to second with a sacrifice bunt and reached safely herself on a fielder’s choice.
Godfrey scored the opening run of the game on a pass ball from Magan Isoba and Eby came around to score shortly after Nicole Shinsky drilled a double to left center.
“It’s always good to start out with a doubleheader sweep on the first day of the season,” said head coach Val Silvestrini.
“It’s also great for our seniors, most of whom have been here for four years, it’s great for them to start this way.”
“I’m really happy about the games with how aggressive we were offensively and we played really good defense as well,” said Silvestrini.
The Warriors struck back in the second, scoring their lone run of the game off of Pence.
The Panthers, however answered without recording a hit in the third. Eby walked and scored one at-bat later when Shinsky’s hard grounder snuck under the glove of shortstop Kara Seymour.
After a scoreless fourth, Rachel Pence took down the side in order in the top half of the fifth. That’s when FIT decided to end things.
The Panthers pummeled the Warriors for six runs in the bottom of the fifth, capped by a Shinsky single to left that brought home Audrey Gangloff to give FIT a 9-1 advantage and the victory under the eight-run rule.
Taylor Smith got the start in game two and surrendered a run when her counterpart Erika Bellinger doubled to right center and scored leadoff hitter Jasmine Rodrigues.
The Panthers were trumped by Bellinger in the first but jumped on the Warrior pitcher in the second inning, scoring four runs, though only two of them were earned.
The game seemed to be well within the Panthers grasp after Godfrey and Gangloff scored in the fourth to garner a 6-1 lead for the Panthers.
However things started to unravel a little for Smith in the top of the fifth.
The graduate student allowed five runs to the Warriors in the inning, including the game-tying three-run home run to Lydia Hough.
The shot to left field brought Smith’s day to a close as Pence came in and slammed the door shut, maintaining the tied score.
Showing the ability to fight off adversity, the Panthers reclaimed the lead in the sixth as Eby’s single to center allowed Godfrey to cross the plate.
Pence closed out the game in usual fashion, retiring the side and blowing by Hough for the final out.
She allowed just one run on 99 pitches in 7.2 innings pitched on the day, while tallying nine strikeouts. The Jacksonville native allowed a single walk over the course of the day.
The Panthers registered 18 total hits in the two games, including a 4-for-6 performance from Jessica Callahan.
The sophomore also joined Audrey Gangloff in scoring three runs on the day, while Godfrey, Eby, Peterson and Hailey Leonard each recorded a pair.
FIT will open the two-day, five-game Eckerd College Tritons Invitational on Friday against Lindenwood at 4:30 p.m. and Colorado Christian at 7 p.m. at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
Live stats will be available for all five games at FloridaTechSports.com/live