MELBOURNE – Florida Southern got a tremendous relief outing from junior pitcher Sydney Koch and multi-hit games from junior Erica Morrissey and senior Maggie Roberts, but a 6-run second inning by Florida Tech gave the Panthers an 8-2 win over the Moccasins in the finale of their 3-game Sunshine State Conference series.
Koch entered the game in the bottom of the second inning with the Moccasins already trailing and limited the Panthers to only two unearned runs (which scored on one play in the fourth inning) on four hits the rest of the way. In her 4.2 innings of work, Koch also struck out four and walked two.
Just as they did in the series opener on Friday, the Moccasins (11-25-1, 3-11-1) were on the board first Saturday morning. Morrissey's 2-out double in the top of the first inning gave the Mocs their first base runner, Roberts singled her to third, and freshman Zierra Flodman brought her home with another single.
The Mocs' 1-0 lead disappeared in the bottom of the second though when the Panthers (34-11, 12-3) sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs on four hits, two walks and two errors. Junior pitcher Brandi Jones got the first Florida Tech batter of the inning on a pop up, but two walks sandwiched around a throwing error loaded the bases for Elaine Brown who drove in the tying run with a bloop single into left center. Krista Patterson followed with a single up the middle that knocked in two more runs and gave Florida Tech a 3-1 lead.
When Nicole Shinsky dropped a second blooper down the line in short left that went for a single, the Panthers had the bases loaded again, and Hailey Leonard made it a 4-1 game with an RBI single that ended the day for Jones. Junior Sydney Koch came in and got Emily York to hit into a force out at the plate for the second out of the inning but two more runs scored when Ashley Montion reached on an error.
The Moccasins picked up their second run in the top of the fourth when sophomore Amber Preston doubled and came home on a single by senior Jordan Alexander. The Mocs could have done even more damage in the inning with a single by junior Erin Klein in the mix too, but Patterson went deep in the hole at short to take what could have been another hit away from junior Dana Mackiewicz.
The Panthers scored their final two runs in the bottom half of the fourth on a 2-run triple by Karen Suicava. That scoring play was set up by an earlier error in the inning, and five of the eight runs scored by the Panthers in the game were unearned against Koch and Jones.
Jones fell to 5-12 with the loss, and Rachel Pence moved her record to 26-8 with the complete game win. Pence gave up 10 hits, struck out six and walked one. Roberts had three of those hits, and Morrissey had two in addition to drawing the Mocs' only walk.
Florida Southern will take a week off with its bye week in the Sunshine State Conference schedule before returning to action in a 3-game series at Nova Southeastern on April 15 and 16.