The Chattanooga Mocs softball team was unable to cap off the weekend series with a win Sunday afternoon, falling 4-1 to Samford in Birmingham, Ala. The Bulldogs took the series 2-1 to improve their SoCon record to 8-6 while the Mocs fall to 9-5 in Southern Conference play.
"Sometimes softball is a game of breaks," Head Coach Frank Reed said. "I don't think there was anything we really did wrong today, but we didn't catch a good break today. I feel like every ball we hit went right to someone."
Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) was handed the start in the rubber match and cruised through her first four innings of work. Allowing just two hits and striking out two, the sophomore would be handed no decision in the contest.
Henderson did not allow a hit until the third inning. With one out, Samford’s Abbie Miranda and Megan Dowday recorded back-to-back hits to board two runners. Despite the jam, the sophomore was able to pop up the following two batters and work her way out of the frame.
Chattanooga followed up on offense in the top of the fourth with three hits and one run to take a 1-0 lead on the Bulldogs. Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) led off the inning with a single to right and Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) singled to left to put two runners on with one out. A fly to center allowed Roberts to tag up and move to third. With runners on the corners, Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) reached first on an error that allowed Roberts to score from third.
The Mocs defense ran into a jam in the fifth inning as a walk and a fielding error allowed two Samford runners to reach with no outs. Henderson was able to get a fly out before giving way for junior Tayor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) to come on in relief. The junior was able to pitch out of the jam, coaxing back-to-back grounders to second to get UTC out of the inning and preserve the 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs took advantage of a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, however. With just one out on the board and the bases loaded, Madison Dickey lifted a fly ball to straight away center that carried out of the newly renovated Samford Field for a grand slam. The ‘Dogs would go to the seventh leading 4-1.
Jesslyn Stockard (Ringgold, Ga.) gave Chattanooga a glimmer of hope in the seventh inning with a leadoff hit to left. The freshman was pinch ran for by Courtney Ervin (Seymour, Tenn.) and a double down the line in right off the bat of Roberts cut the Bulldogs’ lead in half, 4-2.
With two outs, though, the lineup was unable to catch up to Samford starter Mollie Hanson. Hanson improved to 20-7 and Samford to 32-13 overall. Deason was handed her seventh loss of the season while UTC fell to 24-17 overall.
The Mocs return to Frost Stadium Friday and Saturday as they host in-state rival Middle Tennessee for a two-game non-conference set in the Scenic City. The Good Friday first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. and Saturday’s get-away game begins at Noon.