Panthers Rally In Eighth Inning, Defeat Concordia 6-3
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // March 4, 2015
FIT’s top three batters went 9-for-13
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Failing to capitalize on a plethora of scoring opportunities throughout, Florida Tech finally shed Concordia (N.Y.) with a three-run eighth inning en route to a 6-3 victory at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field Tuesday afternoon.
The Panthers tallied 17 hits, but none more impactful than perhaps Daniel Szpik’s pinch-hit go-ahead RBI single in the home half of the eighth to extend Florida Tech’s program-best start to 15 games.
“He’s a guy we haven’t given a day off all year, but I told him before the game to be prepared for a late-inning opportunity,” said head coach Greg Berkemeier.
“He’s got a very advanced approach for a freshman, and was able to foul off some tough pitches there. It was a great at-bat, and a credit to him for staying ready.”
Florida Tech nearly cost itself following a handful of base running blunders early on in the contest.
Through the first five innings Tuesday, the Panthers had a runner picked off first, caught stealing second and gunned out at third to end a promising scoring chance.
Add in a pair of double plays, and it makes for an interesting ballgame.
”I thought we played a little sloppy offensively today,” said Berkemeier.
“It’s one of those things where we have to do a better job of taking advantage of what our opponent is giving us. We had all sorts of opportunities, but some self-inflicted wounds almost caught up to us.”
Trailing 3-2 in the last of the seventh, first baseman Grant McKown laced a one-out single through the left side of the infield, before advancing 90 feet on an Austin Allen groundout to second one batter later.
Struggling for most of the afternoon at the dish, Ricky Rodriguez stepped in with two outs and smoked a Mike Barone offering down the left-field line to knot the game at three apiece.
The Panthers found their groove once the Clippers turned to their bullpen in the eighth. Highlighted by Szpik’s go-ahead RBI single, Florida Tech recorded five hits and received a pair of insurance runs off the bats of Reid Neal and McKown.
In contrast, the Panther ‘pen surrendered just one baserunner in three innings, as Andrew Beyer notched his first career win.
Reigning Sunshine State Conference Pitcher of the Week Ty Cohen received a no-decision after allowing three earned runs and striking out six in six innings of work.
FIT’s top three batters in the lineup went a combined 9-for-13 in the winning effort.
FIT dives back into league play with a three-game home series beginning Friday against Lynn.
“We’ve got a big weekend series ahead,” said Berkemeier.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re prepared to get the job done because we’re 0-0 going into Friday.”