Florida Tech Wraps Up Season With Doubleheader Sweep Over Eckerd 7-2, 6-2
By Florida Tech // May 15, 2016
Finishes Season 29-21 (11-13)
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech said its final farewells to seniors Gerardo Dudamel and Brad Jones, but not before both contributed to a pair of feel-good victories over Sunshine State Conference opponent Eckerd Saturday at Seminick-Hall Field.
Less than 24 hours after their Friday the 13th blunder, the Panthers appeared poised to make up for their bevy of uncharacteristic mistakes and were able to add a bit of joy to a bittersweet ending to the season with decisive 7-2 and 6-2 wins.
“It’s good to win the series,” said Florida Tech Head Coach Greg Berkemeier.
“It’s always a challenge, especially in this league. I felt like the guys played hard today. Obviously we’re short-handed and we’ve been bitten, but they didn’t use that as an excuse. We went out there and battled and found a way to get both wins – that was good to see.
“We wish the best of luck to the guys playing over the summer and hopefully they come back with a fire to get further than we did this year. Those that will be moving on, we’re very proud of them and are looking forward to see what they do in life,” said Berkemeier.
Following the footsteps of freshman Andy Marzheuser, Ty Cohen and Tyler Deel showcased their stuff one last time in 2016 with dominant performances on the mound.
Taking the ball in game one of the afternoon, Ty Cohen went the distance, posting his first career complete-game outing in just 106 pitches. On the heels of a 12-strikeout effort against No. 15 Nova Southeastern, the sophomore nearly equaled last weekend’s total with 11 K’s this time around without surrendering a single walk.
Cohen yielded a lead-off base hit in the top of the first, yet didn’t allow another base runner to reach safely until the seventh inning, setting down 18 straight Tritons over that span.
Meanwhile, Florida Tech’s bats jumped all over Eckerd from the get-go. As he’s done time and time again this season, John Sternagel sparked the offense with an RBI-single to put the Panthers on the board with only one out in the bottom of the first inning.
After Sternagel later scored on a balk, James Gronberg laced a liner up the middle to stretch the early lead to 3-0. The Crimson and Gray then tacked on runs in the second and sixth innings before Ryan Sinzenich crossed home on a wild pitch in the seventh to put the contest out of reach.
Throughout his final two starts of the season, Cohen combined to allow just two earned runs to go along 23 strikeouts in 17 innings of work, one of the reasons Berkemeier is already looking forward to 2017.
“It’s exciting,” he said when asked about the number of returners due back for another year.
“It’s exciting to see what this group is going to be able to do, but it’s going to be a challenge for them because there’s no easy games on the schedule. You’re going to have to go out there and find a way to bring it every single day. It’ll be fun, though. I know we’ll be talented.”
Eckerd quickly leapt in front in the top of the first inning in the series finale thanks to a two-out RBI-single off the bat of Nick Conti. However, Florida Tech didn’t wait long to respond.
In what eventually wound up as his fourth consecutive multi-hit effort, Sternagel roped a double into left in the bottom of the frame and soon came around to score on a booted ball by the Eckerd third basemen to even the ball game at 1-1. Two more unearned runs aided the Panthers in the third and fourth innings as Florida Tech tallied scores in each of the first four frames to garner control with a 5-1 advantage.
Staked to the healthy lead, Deel held the Tritons hitless during his last four innings on the hill before turning the ball over to Justus Labigang in the sixth. His seven strikeouts on the day fell just one shy of his season-best total of eight recorded in back-to-back outings against Albany State and Assumption.
Daniel Szpik and David Wilson each notched two hits apiece in the victory, while Sternagel ensured the SSC stolen base title by swiping his 36th bag of the year in the third inning.
Florida Tech finishes the season with a record of 29-21 overall, and 11-13 in league play.