NCAA Tournament: FIT Stays Alive With 5-1 Victory Against Top-Seeded West Alabama

By  //  May 16, 2015

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With the season hanging in the balance not even a four hour and forty minute rain delay could stand in the way of Florida Tech, as it rolled to a decisive 5-1 victory, snapping top-seeded West Alabama’s 10-game win streak Friday night. (Photo by Amanda Stratford Photography)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – With the season hanging in the balance not even a four hour and forty minute rain delay could stand in the way of Florida Tech, as it rolled to a decisive 5-1 victory, snapping top-seeded West Alabama’s 10-game win streak Friday night.

Ahead just 2-1 amidst a heap of dreadful weather, the Panthers returned in the sixth inning with a restored energy that carried them the rest of the way.

A pair of freshman in starting pitcher Ty Cohen and reliever Drew Beyer limited the Tigers to only four hits, and the heart of the batting order rose to the occasion to keep Florida Tech alive in the NCAA South Region.

Greg Berkemeier

Greg Berkemeier

“They came out and played well,” said head coach Greg Berkemeier after the Panthers collected their first regional win since 2010.

“They played focused, and played like something was on the line. We were able to execute, and got a couple big two-out knocks to score some runs. Then Drew comes in and throws the ball extremely well. He was big time for us tonight.”

If any jitters were experienced, Cohen definitely didn’t show them in his postseason debut on Friday.

The freshman from Woodstock, Georgia appeared very comfortable on the mound, keep a raucous Tiger crowd mostly quiet throughout.

Ty Cohen

Ty Cohen

In a rain-shortened outing Ty Cohen exited with a 2-1 lead after five innings, surrendering one run on two hits, while striking out three.

“Ty did a great job executing the game plan,” said Berkemeier.

“I was actually disappointed we were unable to continue to roll with him there, but when you get that long of a delay you know you can’t go back to him.”

Once the weather finally cooperated, Beyer made sure Cohen’s absence wouldn’t be felt.

Facing the top of the Tiger lineup to begin the sixth, Beyer fanned the side in order, appearing to give Florida Tech the jolt it needed.

Austin Allen

Austin Allen

With one away in the home half of the inning, Austin Allen reached on a liner into right center, and would later advance into scoring position after notching his sixth stolen base of the season.

Cashing in on the golden opportunity, All-SSC shortstop Tyler Doughty delivered a timely RBI single into right to extend the Florida Tech advantage to 3-1.

As Beyer continued to put zeroes on the board, the Florida Tech bats continued to heat up.

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Following a pair of singles and walk, Allen stepped in with the bases loaded and two outs. Wasting no time to once again make his presence felt, he sent a first-pitch screamer off the wall in right to plate both Daniel Szpik and Kevin Wortman.

“He had good at-bats all day today, and added some big time knocks there after the delay,” said Berkemeier of his catcher.

“That was a great job by him, and why he’s the player that he is.”

A four-run cushion was plenty for Beyer, who completed the four-inning save with three more punch-outs in the ninth to set up a 5:30 p.m. CT matchup with Lynn on Saturday.

FIT nabbed two of three from the Fighting Knights during the regular season, including a 5-4 victory over projected starter Max Watt.

For complete coverage, log onto FloridaTechSports.com


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