Neal’s Big Day Drives FIT to Victory in Game One

The Florida Tech baseball team took game one of a doubleheader on Saturday, beating Lincoln Memorial 6-4 behind the three hit, three RBI day of Reid Neal.

Neal tied the game in the third with a 2-run single and gave the Panthers the lead in the fifth, with an RBI single. That gave the Panthers a lead they would never relinquish.

Panthers starting pitcher Tyler Deel got off to a bit of a shaky start, giving up two runs in the top of the first, but he rebounded nicely to pick up his second win of the season.

After dropping game one of the series on Friday 7-2, the Railsplitters were looking to get things started on the right foot Saturday and they did that, scoring twice in the top of the first. Nate Stinson led off with a single and after Tyler Adams walked, both runners moved up on a passed ball. Logan Augustine’s sac fly brought one home and Mason Ewers double, made it 2-0. Deel got the next two outs, avoiding further trouble.

LMU starter Brandon Jean pitched well through the first two innings, but ran inti trouble in the third. Kevin Capella singled with one out and moved to second on a single by Pedro Rivera. They would later score on a Neal single back up the middle, tying the game at two.

Neal was back at it in the fifth. After John Sternagel doubled with one out, Neal drove him in with a single, giving the Panthers a 3-2 lead. Neal would then steal second and go to third on a single by Grant McKown. After McKown stole second, Dan Szpik would ground out to second, allowing Neal to score.

Up 4-2, Deel did not return for the sixth inning. He gave way to Rhett Willis, to start the inning. Deel went 5 innings, allowing two runs on two hits. He walked two and struck out five.

LMU (1-5) got to Willis in that sixth frame, as Ewers drew a one out walk. He would move to second on a single by Russell Clark and both men would move up on a throwing error. Turner Whitfield’s RBI ground out would close the gap to 4-3.

The Panthers (5-1) would get the insurance they needed in the bottom of the seventh. Sternagel walked and went to second on a single by Neal. A wild pitch by reliever Dominic Morabito, who had just come into the game, moved the runners up. McKown chased them home with a two-run single, staking the Panthers to a 6-3 lead.

Augustine homered to start the eighth for Lincoln Memorial, to cut the deficit to 6-4, but Willis would get through the rest of the inning. Luke Lorah came in to start the ninth for the Panthers and he struck out the only batter he faced. Drew Beyer got the final two outs of the game.

Florida Tech pounded out 13 hits in this contest, while the Railsplitters managed six. Game two of the doubleheader will be in a separate article.

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