Florida Tech Tops Southeastern In Opener, 8-2
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // February 3, 2015
Senior Scotty Ward had 9 strikeouts
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – On a breezy opening night at Seminick-Hall Field, the Florida Tech Panthers proved too strong for Southeastern en route to a comfortable 8-2 victory.
Behind nine punch-outs from senior Scotty Ward, and a five-run seventh inning, the Panthers won their season opener for the fourth year in a row.
“You never know what to expect on opening night other than there’s going to be some type of nerves and jitters, and some energy about the team,” said head coach Greg Berkemeier.
“I thought we did a good job of eventually settling in and just going out there and playing the game.”
The Fire jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI groundout by shortstop Luis Diaz, but from there it was all Panthers.
Ward found his groove in the fifth, and scattered just three more singles before his night ended heading into the top of the eighth inning.
“Overall, I thought Scotty did a good job of keeping his head in the game and limiting what Southeastern could do,” said Berkemeier. “He was a little out of sync in the first two innings, but he settled in and did what he’s capable of.”
Trailing in the bottom of the fourth inning, catcher Austin Allen was plunked in the back by Southeastern starter Jordan Gard.
However, he was called back to the box after the umpire ruled Allen had purposely leaned into the pitch.
Making them pay, Austin Allen lined the very next pitch off the fence for a standup double to put the Panthers on the board, down 2-1.
Tied at 2-2 in the home half of the sixth, freshman Daniel Szpik crushed a Brandon Goff offering to the deepest part of the park, driving in Grant McKown for a run-scoring triple to put the Panthers in front 3-2.
The wheels started to come for Southeastern once Florida Tech dug into the Fire bullpen.
Greeting reliever Josh Egert, Allen added to his RBI total with a bases clearing double to stretch the Panther lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh.
Not done yet, senior Ricky Rodriguez followed Allen with a two-run smash to straight away center, giving Florida Tech an 8-2 advantage. Rodriguez finished 1-for-4 in his Panther debut.
Relievers Andrew Beyer and Jerrod Leinhauser slammed the door shut on Southeastern, both working perfect innings to secure the win.
Goff took the loss for Southeastern, allowing four earned runs on four hits in just two-thirds of an inning.
FIT will travel to Columbia, S.C. for a three-game set with Benedict beginning Saturday at noon.