The Chattanooga Mocs softball team claimed its first two wins of 2014 at Frost Stadium it its first two games of the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., Friday afternoon. The Mocs took a 3-1 win over Butler in the opener and a 5-2 victory against Northwestern State in the night-cap.
“We weren’t sharp but we were sharp enough to pick up a couple of wins,” Head Coach Frank Reed said. “We are still trying to find the right offense and get rid of errors on defense, but our team has come a long way since the first weekend and I am happy to begin the home-schedule 2-0.”
Chattanooga 3 – Butler 1
Referring to Chattanooga’s three-error game against Butler in the 4 p.m. slot of the tournament, Reed’s Mocs were able to out-slug the Bulldogs and take a two-run win despite defensive flaws. Junior Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) held Butler to just one hit over 5.1 innings of work to pick up her third win of the season, and hits from five different UTC batters was enough to lift the Mocs over Bulldogs’ pitcher Kristin Gutierrez.
“The team stayed strong behind me,” Deason said. “There were a few miscues, but ultimately the defense stayed strong and our offense was able to deliver clutch hits.”
Among the clutch hits was a double to left from junior Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) in the bottom of the third inning. The third baseman lined a laser-shot over the head of the left fielder to drive in Chattanooga’s first two runs of the game. Both Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) and Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) scored on the extra-base hit after walking and singling, respectively.
Sophomore Jenny Garcia (Miami, Fla.) tagged a hard-hit double down the line in left in the fourth, stole third and then scored on a Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) single up the middle to tack on the Mocs’ third run.
Chattanooga 5 – Northwestern State 2
Chattanooga then defeated Northwestern State 5-2 that included a first-career homerun from the Mocs’ sophomore shortstop Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) and a strong start from sophomore pitcher Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.).
Blanco put UTC on the board quickly in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run blast over left-center. It was the sophomore’s team-leading 10th and 11th RBIs and Chattanooga’s eighth team-homer of the season, putting UTC up 2-0 early in the game.
“My team mates just told me to keep swinging,” Blanco said. “The pitch was there and I hit it.”
Dutton began another two-run inning in the third by reaching on an error to the third baseman. The Taylors followed up with back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases and sophomore Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) delivered the first blow with a hit up the middle to score Dutton. Blanco was credited with her third RBI of the night and drove in the game’s fourth run on a groundout to third to score Sam Taylor.
A fielder’s choice off the bat of Alyssa Taylor led to Chattanooga’s fifth run, scoring Garcia from third in the bottom of the fourth to give the Mocs their winning total. The Lady Demons make their run in the third inning on two hits to score two runs, but Mocs’ starting pitcher Henderson extinguished the fire as part of her two-run, six-strikeout outing.
The Mocs’ run in the Frost Classic continues tomorrow at 4 p.m. with a meeting against Radford. Chattanooga wraps up Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. first-pitch against Toledo. Both Toledo and Radford were 1-1 on the day. Radford recorded a win over Middle Tennessee and a loss to Austin Peay while Toledo topped Campbell and lost to Tennessee Tech.