The Chattanooga Mocs softball team locked up the No. 2 seed going into the Southern Conference Tournament on Senior Day Sunday afternoon with an 8-0, run-rule shortened win over Western Carolina at Frost Stadium.
“It was great to see the seniors finish the 2014 regular season with a win,” Head Coach Frank Reed said. “Now we have to keep our momentum going and hit the SoCon Tournament with one goal. We want to win it all and go to a regional.”
The Mocs took the convincing win with a second straight shutout of the Catamounts. Starting pitcher Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) came away with her team-leading 16th win of the season and her second shutout in as many days.
The offense backed the ace with 14 hits, scoring in every inning except two. UTC put deuces on the board in the second and fifth, scored three in the third and one in the sixth to walk it off.
Freshman first baseman Jesslyn Stockard (Ringgold, Ga.) continued her tear of the Catamounts with a 2-for-4 perfromance, scoring two runs, while fellow Peach-Stater sophomore Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) recorded a couple of hits and three RBI – including the game’s final run on a double to the fence in left-center.
The second inning saw senior Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) lead off with a hit-by-pitch, Stockard followed up with a single through the left side and Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) walked to set up Chattanooga’s first run-scoring strike. Sam Taylor walked to score the first run of the game and an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) plated the second run.
The three-run third came courtesy of five hits, including a two-RBI Rieck double and another Sam Taylor hit. Along with Taylor’s run-scoring single up the middle, Blanco, Stockard and Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) each tallied hits in the inning.
Chattanooga added on two runs in the fifth on four hits. Roberts singled, her second hit of the afternoon, to lead off and Alyssa Taylor reached on an infield single. With two on and one out, sophomore Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) laced a single to right to bring home Roberts, and a pop-up single off the bat of Nicole Osterman (Kissimmee, Fla.) scored Taylor to take UTC’s lead to 7-0.
The final straw came in the bottom of the sixth as Sam Taylor drove a double to center to drive in Dutton from second.
With the win, Chattanooga jumped ahead of Furman in the SoCon standings to finish second in the regular season race and claim the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Their seeding gives the Mocs a 10 a.m. first pitch Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C., against the league’s No. 7 seeded Appalachian State Mountaineers.
The Mocs finish the season with a 30-19 overall record and 13-7 SoCon mark.