The Chattanooga Mocs softball team settled for a doubleheader split Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Ala., with Samford. Chattanooga picked up its 23rd win of the season while claiming its eighth Southern Conference win of the season.
“We just have to keep winning ball games if we want to win the conference,” Head Coach Frank Reed said. “We would’ve liked to have picked up both wins today, but road wins are hard to come by. Samford is a tough team.”
Chattanooga 0 - Samford 1
The Mocs suffered a 1-0 loss to the Bulldogs in the first contest of the series. A pitching duel that held the UTC bats to just four hits, Samford was able to take advantage of two hits in the fourth to score the game’s only run.
Despite putting six runners on base and a tough performance from starting pitcher Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.), Chattanooga stranded all six while the Bulldogs only left three runners on through six innings.
Chattanooga’s best scoring chance came in the third as Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) singled up the middle to lead off the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Courtney Ervin (Seymour, Tenn.) into scoring position but the potential run did not make it past second base.
Samford’s run followed in the bottom of the inning as a single from Megan Dowdy led off and a hit to left from Abby Adams followed a strikeout. With runners at first and second, an RBI-fielder’s choice from Callie Brister scored a run.
Only two hits followed the fourth inning for the Mocs. Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) recorded her second hit of the game with a single in the sixth, and Jenny Garcia (Miami, Fla.) singled to center in the seventh with Chattanooga on the ropes.
Despite Garcia’s game-lengthening hit in the last inning, UTC was unable to put a run on the board in the final frame.
Henderson was handed eighth loss despite a two-hit, nine-strikeout outing.
Chattanooga 5 – Samford 1
The offense responded well in the second game of the day behind junior starter Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) as the bats put up six hits and five runs.
While the Mocs put four runners on in the first two innings with no luck driving them around, the third inning proved to be productive for Chattanooga. Robles singled with one out and advanced to second on a balk. With the catcher in scoring position, Nicole Osterman (Kissimmee, Fla.) smacked a single to right to plate the first run.
Chattanooga added on two more in the fifth with, again, Robles leading off. The sophomore reached on a walk and Osterman reached on an error. With two on with no outs, sophomore Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) singled to right to score both runs. It was Blanco’s second base-knock of the contest.
Samford struck for a run in the fifth, but two UTC runs in the top of the seventh put the game out of reach. A sacrifice fly from Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) scored Osterman and a sac fly to right from freshman Jesslyn Stockard (Ringgold, Ga.) brought Blanco home.
With six innings of work under her belt and just one run allowed, Deason left the seventh with two on and no outs. In relief, Henderson managed three outs to preserve the Deason win and picked up the save. With the win, Deason improved to 11-6 and Henderson picked up her second win.
The Mocs wrap up the series Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Live stats are available online along with a free audio/video broadcast courtesy of Samford Athletics.