No. 25 Florida Tech Falls Short Against Wingate 4-3, Strand 15 Runners In Contest
By Florida Tech // February 7, 2016
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Saturday’s contest is definitely one 25th-ranked Florida Tech wishes it had back. The Panthers stranded a combined 15 runners on base and hit a collective 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position in what ultimately ended in a frustrating 4-3 extra-inning defeat to Wingate.
The struggles didn’t end at the plate, though. A typically sound Florida Tech defense committed a season-high three errors in the effort, paying dearly for two of them.
Right-handed hurler Ty Cohen turned in his second consecutive stellar outing to begin the season, only to receive a no-decision. The sophomore made easy work of the Wingate lineup, yielding a pair of hits in six innings to go along with six strikeouts, while allowing just one base runner to reach scoring position. The run support wasn’t there for him, however.
Dealt their second consecutive loss, the failed opportunities plagued the Panthers from the first inning all the way until the final pitch of the evening.
A lead-off walk, a single into left field and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for Florida Tech with no outs in the bottom the opening frame. Yet, back-to-back strikeouts and a lazy pop fly ensued as the Panthers whiffed on a shot at an early cushion.
Cohen retired the first six batters he faced and was eventually able to work with a lead after the Panthers got on the scoreboard in the fourth.
Ryan Sinzenich opened the home half of the inning with a single up the middle and moved up 90 feet after David Wilson was issued a one-out walk.
Two batters later, second baseman John Sprowls doubled his season RBI total with a base knock, giving the Panthers the 1-0 edge.
Florida Tech threatened again in both the fifth and sixth innings, but failed to capitalize in either after having a pair of baserunners reach with less than two outs on each occasion. Those insurance runs would be sorely missed in the innings to come.
Cohen’s day was done after giving way to freshman Andrew Marzheuser with the slight 1-0 advantage in the seventh. In just his second career appearance, the Cincinnati, Ohio native sat the Bulldogs down in order to keep the lead intact, but was later hindered by a defensive miscue in the following frame.
Wingate’s Austin Turgeon reached safely to lead off the eighth, and after swiping second base, came around to score an unearned run on a Brett Branton single.
Despite only five hits, the Panthers still had a golden opportunity to escape with a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth.
A one-out walk by Grant McKown loaded the bases yet again for Florida Tech, but Wingate was soon let off the hook after two straight strikeouts left the Crimson and Gray empty handed.
Headed into extras, a Wingate rally was ignited by a rare catcher’s interference call. A base on balls put a pair of runners on with one out when David Nash singled into left center to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the ball game. Another walk loaded the bases for Zach Little, who came up big with a two-RBI hit to extend the margin to 4-1.
The Florida Tech offense that had been missing throughout the first nine innings finally appeared, though, trailing by three runs. As part of a string of four consecutive singles, John Sternagel plated Daniel Szpik to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Reid Neal then followed with a sacrifice fly to draw the Panthers to within one, but with the winning run on first, Wingate’s Tyler Brown induced an infield pop-up that pretty much summed up the day for Florida Tech.
Following his 2-for-5 performance, Sternagel has now recorded at least two hits in three of the Panthers’ first four games.
FIT will look to quickly bounce back Sunday as it sets to face Valdosta State at 4 p.m. ET.
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