AVON PARK-The State College of Florida Manatees eased past the South Florida State College Panthers in Thursday’s doubleheader.
The Manatees swept the Panthers by scores of 8-6 and 3-1. The losses dropped the Panthers record to 22-10.
South Florida’s pitcher Baylee Haggard struggled early in the first inning as the Manatees jumped to an early lead scoring five runs.
The Panthers narrowed the deficit in the bottom of the third. Raylee Coleman was hit by a pitch and Kaylee Frascatore stepped to the plate and rocketed the ball over the centerfield scoreboard for a two-run homer to make 5-2. April Alvarado doubled, and Janea Mobley lined a single to centerfield with Alvarado moving to third. Amanda Crisafulli hit a sacrifice fly to left field driving home Alvarado cutting the deficit to 5-3.
The Manatees widened the gap in the top of the fourth inning. Sydney Parks hit a blooper into left field for a single and Megan Seeds sent a liner down the third-base line for a double driving home Parks to give State College of Florida a 6-3 lead.
The Panthers rallied in the fourth as Hannah Perez singled, Payton Pilon ripped a double to left-centerfield and Coleman followed with a double to plate Perez and Pilon. Coleman advanced to third on a passed ball and raced home on a Frascatore base hit to tie the game at 6.
The State College of Florida reclaimed the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to go up 8-6.
South Florida failed to score the final two innings as the Manatees claimed the 8-6 victory.
Haggard pitched all seven innings allowing nine hits, eight runs and struck out five batters.
“We had too many errors,” said South Florida Coach Carlos Falla. “They had two earned runs and beat us. We gave them six unearned runs. That was our fault not making routine plays, dropping balls, not making outs when we were supposed to when we were given outs. We made a great comeback scoring six runs by doing everything offensively correct. Once we were tied we went back to the old things that didn’t work, that got us down six nothing. Our pitching started off with two walks, a hit batter and gave up two walks in a row and all of those were unearned runs. We walked too many people. We have to get better on the mound. When we do things right we can score runs. We hurt ourselves and beat ourselves.”
In game two, Madi Locastro took the rubber for South Florida. Locastro allowed four hits, three runs, struck out one and allowed only one walk during seven innings. The game slipped away from the Panthers losing 3-1.
State College of Florida claimed the lead early scoring in the first inning and the sixth inning to go up 2-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, South Florida’s Frascatore singled, Alvarado singled and Frascatore stole third and scored on a passed ball to pull the Panthers within 2-1.
The Manatees add a run in the top of the seventh and held on for the 3-1 win.
“We made the same mistakes that we made in the first game,” said Falla. “We did not hit outside pitches where we were supposed to and rolled around balls. We pitched well and only made one defensive error but we just didn’t hit.”
South Florida will host the St. Petersburg College Titans in a doubleheader on Thursday at 5 p.m.
In baseball, the South Florida Panthers defeated Florida Southwestern College by a score of 11-4 on Wednesday.
Florida SouthWestern is ranked No. 1 in the Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA) and ranked No. 3 nationally.
Mike Bessell and Leo Alfonzo combined for seven hits and 7 RBIs. Eddie Serrano finished the game on the mound for the Panthers by getting the last eight outs to earn the save for South Florida.
“It was a good win for our guys against a very good team,” said South Florida Coach Rick Hitt. “It was a great comeback after Monday night’s defeat.”
South Florida State College will be back in action Monday when the Paqnthers host State College of Florida at 6 p.m.