MELBOURNE, Fla.- The Florida Tech Panthers achieved their first conference sweep this weekend, taking three games from Sunshine State Conference rivals
They won the first game yesterday 24-0, and showed they still had pop leftin their bats today winning game one of the doubleheader 7-5 and the second 5-1.
Both of Tech’s starting pitchers threw gems for the day. Junior Jay Crouse (Naples, Fla.) started the first game, hurling all but one out ofthe ballgame.
He allowed 13 hits, five runs and two walks while striking outsix. Crouse held the visiting Tritons to two runs until the final inning.
Coming out of the bullpen, junior Matt Woods (Lake Hamilton, Fla.) relieved Crouse for the final out of the game. Woods with help from Tech’s first baseman
Devin Hopkins (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) put away the final batter notching his second save on the season.
Junior Jody Danca (Naples, Fla.) went the distance for the Panthers in the nightcap. He pitched the entire seven-inning game, allowing two hits, one run,
and one walk while striking out eight. Danca retired the first 14 batters he faced after placing a runner on base. His no-hitter was broken up in the sixth
Tech found themselves in trouble in the early stages of the early game. In the first inning, the Tritons loaded the bases with no outs, but some clutch
pitching by Crouse and a very close double play turned by the Panther defense left Eckerd scoreless. In the second, the Tritons put runners on second and
third but again could not cross the plate. Eckerd did manage to score one in the third off a two-out double by junior Alfredo Cabale (Tampa, Fla.).
Tech answered back with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Sophomore Nick Brennan (Detroit, Mich.), who has been on fire as of late, smacked a
one-out single to center field; eventually scoring on a triple by junior Steve Condotta (Mississauga, Canada). Fellow junior Jon Baksh (Mississauga,
Canada) drove Condotta after launching a deep sacrifice fly to centerfield.
The Panthers put two more on the board in the fifth inning. Condotta drew a one-out walk while Baksh followed with a single to left field. They both
advanced on a wild pitch by Eckerd’s junior pitcher Joe Sinicola (Warwick, R.I.). Junior Eamonn Powers (Staten Island, N.Y.) drove both runners home with a
two-run single to centerfield.
Both teams put another run on the board in the sixth inning, and the Panthers scored another two in the seventh. Eckerd tried for a comeback in the ninth,
but fell two-runs short.
In game two, while Danca kept the Eckerd offense at bay, the Panthers managed to score five runs.
In the first inning, senior Hopkins drove in senior Bryan Stanton (Merritt Island, Fla.) from second with a clutch two-out single. The Panthers put two
more runs on the board in the fourth on one hit, one walk, and a Triton Error. In the fifth, Baksh connected for his fifth homerun of the year, blasting a
two-run shot to the opposite field to give the Panthers five runs.
In the sixth inning, Eckerd managed to score their first and only run of the game on two singles and a stolen base. Mike Alvarez (Tampa, Florida) crossed
the plate after smacking a single earlier in the inning. Senior pinch hitter Mike Ruggieri (Arlington, Mass.) grabbed the lone RBI for loss.
The Panthers start their conference season perfect, sweeping the Tritons. They are now 3-0 in the SSC, and 16-6 overall. Eckerd is now 0-3 in conference
and 4-11 on the season. Monday and Tuesday the Panthers host visiting St. Thomas of New York. Monday’s game is scheduled to start at 3:00 pm.