Florida Tech Baseball Splits Doubleheader Against Palm Beach Atlantic
By Florida Tech // April 26, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Behind a sharp showing from its bullpen, and some timely hitting, Florida Tech secured a much-needed series win on the road at Palm Beach Atlantic Saturday.
The Panthers were presented an opportunity to sweep the Sailfish following their 8-5 triumph early on in the afternoon, but stumbled to an 8-4 defeat in the finale.
Nevertheless, head coach Greg Berkemeier can’t complain about picking up a pair of victories away from home over the weekend.
“Well it did mean a lot,” said head coach Greg Berkemeier, on the importance of claiming the series.
“It’s always tough to go on the road and win. It’s always tough to win any series where we play, but we were fortunate to take two of three. We got a good bullpen performance in the first game, and were able to scratch just enough runs across.”
“In the second game, their pitcher did a good job of nullifying us a bit. We didn’t solve him very well for eight innings, and were finally able to spark a rally once he got fatigued. I’d like to see a little bit more of that same fight we had in the last inning throughout the entire weekend. Again, we found a way to win the series and that’s always the goal,” said Berkemeier.
Florida Tech’s starting rotation struggled Saturday, but was backed by its bullpen on a muggy afternoon at Rubin Park.
Freshman Tim Whalen improved to 7-0 on the year after tossing three scoreless innings, as the bullpen combined for five shutout frames in game one of the day.
A back-and-forth affair for most of the ballgame, Florida Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on consecutive RBI groundouts by Ricky Rodriguez and Tyler Doughty.
However, a Sailfish sacrifice fly, coupled with a two-out RBI single, knotted things back up at two apiece at the end of one.
The four-run first inning matched the scoring total of Friday’s entire contest.
Florida Tech pulled back in front following Ryan Sinzenich’s RBI single through the right side in the third, and would later extend its advantage to 5-2 on a two-run single off the bat of Austin Allen in the fourth.
Keyed by a two-out two-run double, Palm Beach Atlantic once again responded in the home half of the inning, evening things up at 5-5.
But similar to Friday’s outing, control issues played a role in the outcome of game one Saturday.
Still tied at 5-5 in the sixth, a walk, a hit batter and a wild pitch put two Panthers in scoring position with nobody out. Turning the lineup over, Reid Neal cashed in with a two-run single just out of the shortstop’s reach to make it 7-5 Florida Tech.
Sinzenich would tack on another RBI, before closer Jerrod Leinhauser nailed down his league-leading 11th save in the ninth to wrap-up the ‘W’.
In a role reversal, it was the Panthers playing catch-up in the finale.
Two first-inning homers set the tone for the Sailfish, before back-to-back RBIs by Allen and Rodriguez clawed Florida Tech back to within a run in the fourth.
Like many times before, though, PBA answered the call in the bottom of the frame, sending eight batters to the plate to stretch its lead back to 6-2.
Trailing 8-2 entering the ninth, Florida Tech plated two on a pair of bases loaded walks to cut the deficit to 8-4. The Panthers then brought the tying run to the dish in Allen, but he skied a 1-0 fastball into center for the final out of the contest.
With the Panthers’ regular season set to come to a close on Wednesday, Berkemeier’s club hopes it has made enough of an impression on the NCAA Selection Committee as it waits for their fellow Sunshine State Conference counterparts to round out play in the coming weeks.
“I feel very strong about our body of work,” he said when asked about his team’s potential of receiving an NCAA Regional bid.
“We’ve won on the road, we’ve played a good schedule, and won quite a bit of games. I felt like we’ve done a good job throughout the year of putting together a good body of work. Now we’ll just have to see if it’s going to be enough. That’s all we can hope, and we’ll see what happens.”
FIT rounds out regular season play on Wednesday, as they travel to Webber International. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.