The Blazer baseball team turned up the heat on a cold Friday night at Billy Grant Field, easily beating the undefeated Florida Tech Panthers 7-2.
The win, which is the second of the season for the Blazers, was highlighted by an 4 and 2/3rds inning performance by Pete Whittingslow that saw the southpaw throw eight strikeouts while allowing just one earned run for the Panthers, who had scored some 35 runs in their first three games.
That one earned run occurred in the top of the second, when the Panthers’ Jimmie Koch hit a single that brought Ryan Coward home from second base, and would give Florida Tech an early lead.
That lead was short-lived, however, thanks largely due to the fighting spirit shown by second baseman Chaz Bagwell, who stole both second and third base in the bottom of the third inning, before scoring on a hit by shortstop Marc Overstreet.
The Blazers then took the lead that same inning when Overstreet scored off an error, one of four incurred by Florida Tech.
The team added more runs to their account in the fifth as Overstreet scored after left-fielder Cooper Lemonds grounded out, while designated hitter Steven Groves scored after Austin Lawrence was caught in a run-down that lasted long enough for Groves to make it home safely.
The high-water mark for the team, as far as run production was concerned, took place the very next inning, as the Blazers brought three home in the bottom half of the sixth, which was highlighted by a clutch hit by first-baseman Chad Grant, who was brought up after Overstreet was intentionally walked, which loaded the bases. Right-fielder Ryan Noelte and catcher Bryant Hayman scored on the hit.
A Groves single scored Overstreet later that inning.
In the top of the seventh, Florida Tech designated hitter Ryan McChesney would score after getting hit by a pitch, and stealing second base, but it would not even approach the Blazers’ lead, which at this time, was insurmountable.
Benjamin Weil, who is known for his unorthodox yet exciting underhanded submarine pitch delivery, got the win, pitching two innings of relief ball, with one strikeout and one earned run.
The next two games for the Blazers are against Florida Tech, a doubleheader in Melbourne, Florida, on the 12th.