Florida Tech’s Rachel Pence Tosses No-Hitter In 4-0 Victory Over Eckerd
By Florida Tech // April 9, 2016
third no-hitter of the past 10 years
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – With a solid defense behind her, Rachel Pence tossed just the third no-hitter of the past 10 years for Florida Tech, guiding the Panthers to a series-opening 4-0 win over Eckerd.
Pence was dealing all game long, facing just two batters over the minimum. The Creekside High School product surrendered two walks and an HBP, striking out seven hitters in her seven innings of work. It was the second no no of the junior’s career.
The Jacksonville, Florida native tossed a perfect game against Fort Valley State in her collegiate debut in 2014.
“That was amazing and the best part is she had no idea,” said head coach Val Silvestrini.
“She just wanted to get outs and when we told her she threw a no hitter she said ‘I’m upset with the way the runners got on base.’”
As seems to be the case in just about every no-hitter, Pence was saved by a couple of outstanding defensive plays from her teammates. Most notably, a diving play in left by Ashley Montion and a retreating snag on a well struck ball to right field by Kaitlin Buchholz.
“Ashley’s play was awesome because that girl really barreled that one up,” stated Pence.
“Kaitlin also had one in the fourth inning almost backing up to the fence. Both of those plays I was like ‘Wow, my outfield is awesome.’ It definitely gave me a little extra confidence.”
The Panthers didn’t exactly light up Triton starting pitcher Nikole Van Gannep, but took advantage of their six hits with some heads up play on the base paths.
“Their pitcher is really good,” continued Silvestrini.
“She did a great job of keeping us off balance with her changeup. We were able to force a couple of runs with some aggressive base running.”
After a pair of quick outs and a Nicole Shinsky walk in the fourth inning, Hailey Leonard dropped a single into right for FIT’s first hit of the game. Emily York continued the rally by striking an infield single up the middle and Shinsky turned on the jets to score all the way from second.
The Panthers mustered no more offense until the seventh. Shinsky, Leonard and Montion all singled to load the bases and bring Buchholz to the plate with one out.
FIT attempted to implemented the squeeze play but the Junior Iowa Western transfer was unable to make contact on a pitch high in the zone. However, Dana Paul’s throw ricocheted off third baseman Chelsea Armstrong and into center field, allowing all three runs to come home.
On a day when the Tritons were unable to figure out what Pence was delivering in the circle, that was more than enough for the Panthers, who improved to 35-11 on the year and 13-3 in Sunshine State Conference play.
FIT and Eckerd resume the series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Links to live video and stats are available at FloridaTechSports.com.