GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Chattanooga Mocs defeated No. 5 UNCG 4-3 to win the 2014 Southern Conference Softball Championship on Saturday at UNCG Softball Stadium in Greensboro, N.C.
Jesslyn Stockard posted three RBIs to help the No. 2 Mocs claim their first title since 2011 and 12th overall, while teammate Katie Henderson was selected as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Henderson finished the tournament with a 3-0 record, allowing just two earned runs in 23 2/3 innings to go along with 32 strike outs and just two walks.
After a scoreless first inning, Criket Blanco led off the top of the second with a single through the right side, advancing on a Kaiti Dutton groundout in the next at bat. Stockard provided the first runs of the day, taking a Raeanne Hanks pitch over the left field wall to give UTC a 2-0 lead.
Lindsay Thomas would cut the Moc lead to one in the bottom of the third, cranking a lead-off home run, her fifth of the tournament, to make the score 2-1. The Spartans would lead the bases following Thomas’ shot, bringing Tory Wright to the plate with two outs. Wright sent a line drive to left that would have plated at least one run, but Nicole Osterman laid out to make a diving catch to get the Mocs out of the inning.
In the top of the fourth, Criket Blanco’s double to right gave UTC a runner in scoring position. Blanco advanced to third on a Kaiti Dutton groundout before Stockard brought her home on a fielder’s choice, picking up her third RBI of the day to make the score 3-1.
Chattanooga would get another run, this time from Osterman, who singled to center, scoring Alyssa Taylor. The Spartans would come up with a run of their own in the fifth, as Emily Lopez crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice with one out to make the count 4-2.
The Spartans would come within a single run in the bottom of the sixth, as Danielle Vega doubled home Dominique Madruga, just after play resumed from a 43 minute lightning delay.
UNCG would keep the Mocs off the board in the top of the seventh, but were unable to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh.
Stockard finished the day 2-for-3 with three RBIs, a hit and a home run, earning all-tournament honors for her play. Blanco also picked up a pair of hits and added two runs scored to help the Mocs earn the SoCon title.
Henderson tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with five strikeouts. Taylor Deason earned the winning, pitching 1 1/3 innings with no runs and one hit allowed.
Thomas, who also earned an all-tournament selection, went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a home run, while Vega finished 3-for-3 with an RBI. Hanks took the loss, throwing seven innings with five strikeouts and four earned runs on nine hits.
The Mocs will learn their destination for NCAA Regionals on Sunday, as the NCAA Selection Show will take place at 10 p.m. on Sunday on ESPNU. NCAA Regionals will begin on Thursday, March 15.
Most Outstanding Player
Katie Henderson, Chattanooga
Sarah Purvis, Georgia Southern
Tory Wright, UNCG
Lindsay Thomas, UNCG
Megan Dowdy, Samford
Mollie Hanson, Samford
Sam Taylor, Chattanooga
Katie Henderson, Chattanooga
Jesslyn Stockard, Chattanooga
Sarah Beth Roberts, Chattanooga