MELBOURNE, Fla. – On Saturday afternoon, Florida Tech (6-6) split its twin bill for the second day of the 2018 Softball Classic. In the rematch against No. 22 St. Mary’s, the Panthers struggled to post runs to the scoreboard and eventually fell, 4-1. Taking the field against Flagler (7-4), FIT powered past the Saints with a 5-2 victory at Nancy Bottge Field.
In the circle, Melanie Murphy (3-3) dominated the St. Augustine lineup, allotting no runs and solely two hits in seven complete innings pitched. With her performance, Murphy now ranks eighth in the SSC for strikeouts with 23.
In the box, Alexus Smith and Rachel Kraak led the Crimson and Gray lineup with a 2-for-5 performance at the plate. In the Saturday outing, Smith recorded one double, while Kraak recorded one double of her own and one triple for three RBI. Also, aiding in the Panthers offense efforts, sophomore Vanessa Rubio collected one hit and two RBI.
During the game against the Rattlers, FIT struck first in the top of the second, as Smith and Kraak joined forces to claw one run and put Florida Tech ahead, 1-0. After two scoreless innings, STMU reached the scoreboard in the fourth, driving in two runs to turn the game around and overlap the Panthers, 2-1. Unfortunately, the San Antonio offense kept rolling and eventually increased its lead again in the fifth, 3-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Rattlers broke through the score once more to put Florida Tech behind by three, 4-1. Entering the final inning with a three-run deficit, Smith brought the Panthers on base with a double to right center. However, the Palm Bay native was left hanging, as the Crimson and Gray eventually fell to St. Mary’s, 4-1.
In the next event against Flagler, the Crimson and Gray set the tone in the bottom of the first. With bases loaded, Rubio was allotted a free base to move the runners around, while veteran Makayla Palmer cleverly used a Saints distraction to steal home and snatch another run for FIT, 2-0. After going through the lineup in the same inning, Rubio was allotted with another free base, but was shortly sent home, after Kraak flared a triple to right center to increase the Panthers stretch, 4-0.
In the fifth, the Saints managed to push one runner home on a Florida Tech troubled throw, but Murphy flawlessly held Flagler scoreless for the remainder of the game and sealed the deal for FIT, 4-1.