Offense Carries Florida Tech Baseball To Doubleheader Sweep Saturday Against Augusta
By Florida Tech // February 20, 2016
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Saturday was just what the doctor ordered for a Florida Tech club that had previously lost three of its last four ball games. The Panthers climbed back to .500 on the season following a pair of road wins over Augusta as the schedule now shapes up nicely with eight of their next nine contests coming at home.
“It was a good team effort today,” said head coach Greg Berkemeier.
“I thought we did a good job all the way around. It’s big when you can win a series, especially after dropping the first one. To be able to come back and win both games of the doubleheader is not easy to do. I’m very proud of the resiliency our club showed today.”
In game one of the day, southpaw Tyler Deel overcame an erratic start to pick up his first career win as Florida Tech tallied 11 unanswered runs at one point en route to a comfortable 12-3 victory.
The former Florida Gator outdueled Augusta’s Will Thompson in a battle of lefty transfers from the Southeastern Conference. Deel surrendered a pair of runs on four hits in the first inning alone, but yielded just one hit in his final four frames before Grant Willcoxon slammed the door shut for his second save of the year.
Crooked numbers were a plenty for Florida Tech, although it was Augusta that seized the early momentum.
The Jaguars grabbed a quick 1-0 lead after opening with a pair of doubles right out of the gate. That advantage soon became 2-0 after a two-out base hit, and could’ve been even worse had right fielder Daniel Szpik not gunned out a would-be base runner at the plate earlier in the inning.
David Wilson didn’t wait long to help Florida Tech answer the call, though, by delivering a big two-out double to even the score at 2-2 in the top of the second. Just pitches later, Reid Neal delivered a base knock of his own, and just like that the Panthers had jumped in front 3-2.
John Sternagel continued the wave of offense with a lead-off triple off the wall to start the third. He later came around to score on one of Grant McKown’s two doubles in the contest, chasing Thompson after just 2.2 innings of work.
Szpik added to a 7-2 cushion with a two-run single hit back up the middle in the seventh as four players went on to finish with multiple RBI’s in the effort.
The series capper began similarly to game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, but the Panthers also made sure it concluded the same way too.
Trailing 1-0, Florida Tech countered with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning, including a Kevin Capella RBI single into center to give the Panthers their first lead.
Wilson had himself a day. After tallying three RBI’s and three runs scored in the first contest of the afternoon, the left fielder added two more hits in the rubber match and increased Florida Tech’s margin to 6-2 in the sixth on a single through the left side of the infield.
Justus Labigang fanned four in five solid innings of the 9-5 victory to collect his first ‘W’ of the year.
“I thought the pitching staff did a better job of minimizing innings,” said Berkemeier.
“Being able to answer every time offensively put us in a better position to allow our pitchers to breathe and not have to worry about always putting up zeroes.”
Less than 24 hours after hitting just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, the Panthers combined to go 12-for-25 on Saturday.
FIT will be off during the week before welcoming 2015 NCAA Tournament qualifier Albany State to Seminick-Hall Field for a three-game series beginning Friday.