MELBOURNE, FL- The Florida Tech Panthers split their final home double-header against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, winning the first game 8-7 and
dropping the second game 5-4 in extra innings. With the split the Panthers record stands at 28-23 overall, while the Eagles stand at 38-14. Tech has three
more games left in the season; all against Sunshine State Conference rivals University of Tampa next weekend.
Junior Jon Baksh was unstoppable for the Panthers at the plate during game one. He went a perfect 4-4 with a double and three runs while driving in two
RBIs. Senior Devin Hopkins went an impressive 3-4 with two runs.
The first game of the day saw the lead shift back and fourth until the eighth inning. Tech put the first run on the board in the first inning. Jon Baksh
scored from second on a two-out double down the leftfield line by Senior Randy Pitts.
The Eagles took the lead in the second, scoring two runs on three hits. The first run was scored on a solo homerun by sophomore Shawn Griffen. Freshman
Casey Coleman scored the second run of the inning on a single by sophomore Graig Smith.
Tech retook the lead in the bottom of the inning. The Panthers scored their first run on a solo homer off the bat of senior Dustin Dangalan to tie the
game. Five batters later Jon Baksh drove in senior Bryan Stanton from second with his second single of the day, giving Tech a 3-2 lead.
In the fourth inning Florida Gulf Coast broke open the game, scoring five earned runs to take a 7-3 lead; four of the runs were scored with two outs. The
Eagles scored on five hits, one a double, three walks, and a wild pitch. Senior Ian Manson hit safely twice in the inning, a single and an RBI single.
These were the last runs the Eagles would manage in the first game.
The Panthers began chipping away at the lead in the fifth inning, scoring two runs on a single to left centerfield by sophomore Brandon Veronee. They tied
the game in the seventh inning, scoring two more runs. Jon Baksh scored the first run on a single by sophomore Brendan Twomey. Devin Hopkins scored the
second run on a single by the next batter, senior Paul Stone.
In the bottom of the eighth Tech took a one-run lead, giving them the lead. Junior Steve Condotta led off the inning with a single to the shortstop. The
next batter, Jon Baksh, smacked a double down the leftfield line to score junior Steve Condotta from first.
Freshman Justin Arsenault picked up the win for the Panthers. He pitched the final two scoreless innings in the game. Freshman Mike Piazza started the game
for the Panthers and went seven innings and allowing seven runs.
Game two turned out to be even closer than the first game, going into two extra innings. Shawn Griffin led off the second inning with a single up the
middle. After advancing to second on an infield groundball he scored on a double by Casey Coleman.
Tech managed to take the lead in the third, scoring three runs to take a 3-1 lead. Senior Paul Stone led off the inning with a single to left field. The
next two Panthers grounded out. Jon Baksh and Devin Hopkins both received walks, loading the bases for junior Eammon Powers. Powers showed his patience at
the plate, and received the Panthers’ third walk in a row, scoring Stone from third. The next batter, Brendan Twomey, hit a two-run single through the
right side of the infield, scoring Baksh and Hopkins.
The Eagles and Panthers each scored another run in the fifth inning, putting the score at 4-2 in favor of the home team. Tech looked strong heading into
the final innings of the game, putting Florida Gulf Coast down in order in the sixth. In the seventh the Panthers got the first batter out, but ran into
trouble when the visitors’ bats began coming to life. Sophomore Graig Smith scored the Eagles first run on a shot over the leftfield wall. The next batter,
Josh Upchurch, smacked a double. He scored the tying run on a single up the middle, notching the game at 4-4.
Neither team scored in the eighth, forcing another extra inning. In the ninth, Josh Upchurch would come through for the Eagles again, scoring the go ahead
run on a sacrifice bunt by senior Jason Louwsma, giving the visitors a 5-4 lead, which they held to win the game.