MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Eighth-ranked Florida Tech returned to Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field Wednesday night as they hosted Southeastern. The Panthers jumped out to a big lead, and held off a late charge by the Fire to earn their fifth consecutive win 16-7.
The Panthers (9-1) surged ahead with five runs in the third inning. Freshman Andrew Calderone provided the fireworks for the Panthers with a three-run home run over the fence in left-center. The home run was the first of Calderone’s career, and the first long ball this season for the Panthers.
Up 6-0 and keeping the Fire off the board, the Panthers added five more runs to their total in the sixth. The Panthers got RBIs in the inning from freshman Trent Masih, senior Andrew Bartlett, and Calderone.
Down big in the eighth inning, the Fire (6-5) broke through with seven runs in the inning. Luis Diaz cleared the bases with a three RBI double to left field.
The Panthers answered the Fire in the bottom half of the eighth with five runs. Senior Ray Maggi brought two of the runs home in the inning with a double down the left field line. The Panthers shut down the Fire in the ninth and earned the 16-7 victory.
No. 4 Valdosta State 4, Columbus State 1
VALDOSTA, Ga. -- Valdosta State scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and made the lead stand-up as the Blazers defeated Columbus State 4-1 in non-conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Wednesday.
With one out in the bottom of the first, Mike Reed was hit by a pitch before Bryant Hayman hit a first-pitch triple to right field. Jimmy Dowdell followed with a double down the right field line that scored Hayman. Dowdell moved to third on a wild pitch and, after a Kevin Cruz walk, scored when Michael Gouge hit a sacrifice fly to put VSU in front 3-0.
Columbus State (6-6) got a run back in the top of the third inning as the first three batters of the inning reached base safely. Carson Bowers walked to open the inning before Blake Edwards singled. Brendan Collins followed with a double to left that plated Bowers. However, Colby Wisdom came out of the Blazer bullpen and struck out the first two batters he faced before inducing a ground ball to short to preserve the 3-1 Blazer lead.
The Blazers added a run in the fifth as Mike Reed hit into a fielder's choice and moved to second on an error on the play. After Hayman was intentionally walked, Dowdell singled to left to bring Reed home for a 4-1 VSU advantage.
Dowdell led Valdosta State with two hits and two RBI in four at-bats on the day while Fears, Hayman and Hunter Thompson had one hit each. Reed saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end as he was 0-for-1 in the game, during which he was hit by a pitch three times.