Florida Tech Baseball Defeats Palm Beach Atlantic in Thrilling Fashion 8-7 on Senior Night
By Florida Tech // May 8, 2021
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BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The Six-Player Panther Baseball Class of 2021 certainly can’t say that their last time in uniform on the Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field diamond wasn’t wild, but more importantly, it ended with a win as the Florida Tech offense came up big when it was needed most multiple times on Thursday evening as the Panthers defeated Palm Beach Atlantic (10-16, 8-16 SSC), 8-7 in the 2021 regular-season finale.
PBA opened the scoring in the top of the third against Panther starting pitcher Mitch Harding. Ramon Machado began the frame with a leadoff walk and then stole second with Brandon Seltzer at the plate, who then singled to center, which moved Machado up 90 feet. Jake Roper then gave the Sailfish the lead with a single to left that brought home Machado and allowed Seltzer to go to third.
Tech responded with a seven-run fourth in typical Panther fashion. Paul Castillo and Brett Parrish began the rally with consecutive walks against new Sailfish reliever Drew Holweger.
A wild pitch with Diego Garcia at the dish scored Castillo, who had advanced to third on a previous wild pitch and moved Parrish to second. Garcia then drew a walk of his own and a groundout to second by Eldridge allowed both baserunners to move into scoring position.
Blaise Maris hit a slow roller to first which meant Salado could only take the certain out at the bag and allowed Parrish to score, moving Garcia to third in the process. Schner was able to reach thanks to his speed on a high-hop single to third that plated Garcia. Schner then took second on a terrific effort in which he avoided the tag on a pickoff attempt.
Raul Quintero kept the inning going with a single to third. Jakob Newton hit a chopper towards the second base bag that could have potentially ended the inning, but Quintero’s hustle beat Houck to the bag, with allowed Schner to score and tie the game.
Rodnie Bernard kept the line moving with a single up the middle and advanced on the throw to the plate that Quintero beat, giving Florida Tech its first lead. The Panthers would tack on another two runs through a balk and wild pitch by Holweger.
The Sailfish responded to the potential knockout with three of their own in the top of the fifth.
The inning began with a bunt single to third by Salado. He would take third on a single to center by Alley and then score on a double down the left-field line by Lara. An RBI groundout from Houck and a Morrison sacrifice fly to the right would level the proceedings.
The game would remain tied until a wild turn of events with two out in the bottom of the eighth. Quintero appeared to line a routine single into left field but Roper’s relay throwback to the infield missed everyone and the ball ended up going into foul territory on the right side past first base, Quintero followed the play and alertly headed all the way to third.
Newton then took the first pitch he saw the other way into left-center for a base hit that brought in Quintero and brought the Panthers back in front.
Alex Carpenter then retired the Sailfish in order in the top of the ninth to seal the victory and record his seventh save of the campaign.
If this was the final outing of Daniel Vassallo’s impressive freshman campaign, he went out with a flourish as he threw three shutout innings in the later innings to keep the game tied. Vassallo allowed only two hits while striking out three and walking none on 37 pitches, 26 of which were strikes.
At the plate, the Panthers received multi-hit efforts from Bernard, Newton, and Quintero as well as a three-hit game from Garcia. Newton had the lone multi-RBI effort of the lineup.
Due to a combination of impending weather and time constraints, Game Two was canceled and will not be made up.
The Panthers conclude the 2021 regular season with an overall record of 17-10 and 15-9 in SSC play. They will now wait to see if they qualify for the regional portion of the NCAA Tournament, which begins on May 27th.
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