The Chattanooga Mocs softball team wrapped up its weekend in Greensboro, N.C., with a Sunday split with UNCG. Chattanooga claimed a tough 2-1 victory in the first game and fell 12-10 in a seven-inning melee in the second game of the day.
Chattanooga 2, UNCG 1
The second game of the weekend saw the Mocs claim a tight 2-1 pitching duel over the Spartans Sunday afternoon. Both Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) and Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) were called on to deal in the middle game against UNCG starter Raeanne Hanks.
Chattanooga jumped ahead of the Spartans in the first inning with a quick one-run frame. Junior Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) walked to lead off and advanced to second on a wild pitch in the following at-bat. A productive ground out from Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) moved the junior to third set up an RBI ground out for Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.).
Two hits and an error in the third inning allowed UNCG to jump back into the game and tie it up 1-1. Tatiana Alcala led off with a single and a grounder advanced the speedster to second. Dominique Madruga singled in the next at-bat, reaching safely, but a throwing error allowed her to reach second and Alcala to score.
Getting down to the wire, with the game tied 1-1 after six innings, Chattanooga took advantage of its final three outs with two hits in the last stanza. Roberts put the Mocs in scoring position with a leadoff double and Robles answered with a single to left to bring the third baseman in from second.
In turn, reliever Henderson shut the Spartans out in the bottom half of the seventh to claim her 10th win of the year.
UNCG got off to a hot start in the series finale Sunday evening. Four runs in the first inning, three runs in the second and three Chattanooga pitchers later, UTC found itself down 7-1 after just two innings of play.
Starting pitcher Katie Henderson was pulled in the middle of the first inning after allowing a three-run homerun. In relief, Taylor Deason allowed an inherited runner to score but got the Mocs out of the inning with minimal damage done further.
Chattanooga put one run on the board in the second inning as Sarah Beth Roberts reached on a fielder’s choice. With Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) at second and Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) at first, Roberts grounded to short. On the flip to second, the toss got away and Rieck motored home to put a dent in the Spartans’ lead.
The flood gates opened up in the top of the third for Chattanooga as the Mocs put up four runs to bring UNCG’s lead to just two runs, 7-5. Robles got the Mocs started with a leadoff homerun to straightaway center. Nicole Osterman (Kissimmee, Fla.) then singled to left and Rieck reached first on an error. With two on, Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) sent a double to center to score Rieck. Osterman and Blanco both scored in the following at-bat as Dutton singled to right.
The offense stayed strong in the fourth inning to put up five runs and take a 10-7 lead on the Spartans. With Taylor on second with a double - her 12th hit in 12 straight games – and Robles on with a walk, Osterman lifted a monstrous three-run homer to left to give Chattanooga an 8-7 lead. Chattanooga added two insurance runs in a bases-loaded situation and two outs. Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) chopped a hard grounder in front of the plate that prompted UNCG’s Hanks to throw to home. The throw went wild and made way for Blanco and pinch runner Hannah Thurley (Nashville, Tenn.) to score.
UNCG battled back in the botton of the fourth with two runs to pull within one, but Henderson was able to work out of a bases-loaded jam to preserve the lead. After a two-RBI double put two runs up for the Spartans with no outs, the sophomore was able to deliver a strikeout, and coax a pop-up and groundout to end the fourth with a 10-9 advantage.
The Spartans would come out on top, though, thanks to a couple of timely homeruns. A solo-shot in the sixth tied the game 10-10 and a two-run homer in the seventh from Katelyn Bedwell gave UNCG the walkoff 12-10 win.
The Mocs are back in action Wednesday night as they take on Tennessee Tech in a double header at Frost Stadium. The first game is set for 4:30 p.m. with the second game to follow.