UTC Softball Sweeps Furman In Saturday Doubleheader To Start SoCon Play 2-0

Sunday, March 24, 2019
The Chattanooga Mocs softball team opened up Southern Conference play in dramatic fashion after earning a doubleheader sweep over Furman, 3-2 and 9-0, in Greenville, S.C., on Saturday afternoon.

Chattanooga captured a thrilling 3-2 extra-inning win in game one after a late Furman rally before completing the sweep with a 9-0, run-rule victory in the nightcap.

Chattanooga improves to 23-7 overall and 2-0 in the SoCon while Furman falls to 8-20 and 0-2 in the conference action.

GM1 BOX » Chattanooga 3, Furman 2 (8)
Three runs or less has decided eight of the last 10 matchups between Southern Conference-foes Chattanooga and Furman.
Game one of today's 
SoCon-opening doubleheader followed right along with the recent history.

Celie Hudson and Furman's Emily DeMonte earned starts in the circle for their respective teams and kept the game scoreless over the first three innings. Hudson registered six punch-outs while stranding three Furman runners over the first trio of innings.

Chattanooga opened the game's scoring in the top of the fourth. Emma Sturdivant and Halie Williamson laced back-to-back, one-out singles to land runners on first and second.

After a pop-out was responsible for the second out, Devan Brown delivered with a two-RBI double to the wall in left center, scoring Taylor Chadwick (pinch-runner for Sturdivant) and Williamson to put UTC ahead 2-0.

Hudson scattered just two hits and two base runners in the home halves of the fourth and fifth innings to hold the two-run advantage. DeMonte retired nine-straight UTC hitters over the fifth, sixth and seventh inning to counter Hudson's performance.

Furman's Marissa Guimbarda belted her SoCon-leading 10th homerun to lead off the bottom of the sixth to pull the Paladins within one, 2-1. The home team continued its late game magic with a solo homerun off the bat of seniorCammy Pereira in the bottom of the seventh to tie things up 2-2 and force a UTC pitching change.

Mariah Ramirez entered the game in relief with no outs and the bases clear. She surrendered a single and intentional walk before a strikeout and passed ball landed runners at first and third with one out.

With the winning run just 60 feet away, Furman's Mackense Greico ripped a line drive right back into the glove of Ramirez, who then threw on to first to catch a Paladin runner drifting off the bag to complete the inning-ending double play, and force extra innings. (WATCH)

With two outs in the top of the eighth, Gracey Kruse ripped her first career triple down the line in right to build some late momentum for UTC. Walker chopped a ground ball to the right-side hole that proved to be too tricky for the defense, resulting in a fielding error and a Kruse run to put Chattanooga ahead 3-2.

Ramirez slammed the door shut in the home half of the inning to secure the one-run win for UTC. She improved to 10-0 to start her collegiate career after tossing 2.0 innings while allowing just one hit.

Hudson earned a no-decision in the circle after exiting the game with the score tied. She dazzled during her 6.0 innings of work, surrendering only two earned runs while striking out nine. The nine strikeouts mark the most for a UTC pitcher in a SoCon-opener since 2008 (Brook Loudermilk).

Chattanooga was out hit in the contest, 9-6, but its pitching staff stranded 11 total Furman baserunners to help the winning efforts. Brown and Amanda Beltran recorded doubles while Kruse's triple rounded out the lone extra-base hits.

Notable Performances: Celie Hudson (6IP, 2ER, 9K); Mariah Ramirez (W, 2IP, 1H, 3K); Devan Brown (1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI); Amanda Beltran (1-for-3, 2B) 
 
GM2 BOX » Chattanooga 9, Furman 0 (6)
Chattanooga struck in the opening inning for the 14th time this season, plating four runs on five hits including making a full trip around the order to take an early 4-0 lead.

Gracey Kruse belted a one-out double before advancing to third on an infield single from Aly Walker. EmmaSturdivant followed up three pitches later with an RBI single up the middle to bring in Kruse and give the Mocs a 1-0 edge.

Halie Williamson drew a five-pitch walk before Amanda Beltran knocked in Walker and Sturdivant with a two-RBI single to extend the advantage to 3-0. Hayleigh Weissenbach registered an RBI single to the left side to complete the four-run inning.

Chattanooga added a run in the top of the second to push ahead for a 5-0 lead after a lead-off double from Kruse set up an RBI single from Sturdivant.

The offensive attack continued with two runs on the help of two Furman errors in the top of the fourth. Devan Brown and Weissenbach each recorded an RBI in the frame to help UTC's lead grow to seven, 7-0.

Weissenbach continued her hot day at the plate with her third career homerun, a two-run shot, in the top of the sixth to put UTC up 9-0. Furman failed to rally in the home half to fight off the eight-run mercy rule.

Mariah Ramirez started the game in the circle and threw one inning of hitless ball before handing over the duties to Allison SwinfordSwinford (6-2) stepped up with a stellar performance, finishing the final 5.0 innings while not allowing a run and surrendering just four hits to earn the win.

Five different Mocs recorded two-hit games while three more chipped in with one-hit performances to total the team's 13.

Notable Performances: Allison Swinford (W, 5IP, 4H, 0ER); Hayleigh Weissenbach (2-for-3, HR, 4RBI); Gracey Kruse (2-for-4, 2 2B, 2R); Amanda Beltran (2-for-3, 2RBI); Emma Sturdivant (2-for-4, 2RBI), Devan Brown (1-for-2, 2B, RBI)
 
CHATTANOOGA NOTABLES
- Chattanooga improves to 23-7 overall… 2-0 in the SoCon… first time starting 2-0 since 2015… 17-1 in games where scoring first… 12-2 when scoring in the first inning.
- Chattanooga offense has racked up 35 hits and 23 runs over the last three games... out-scored opponents 23-8 during that span.
- Allison Swinford tossed 5.0 innings of scoreless relief and earned the win to improve to 6-2 this season… SoCon-best 1.20 ERA… has allowed just seven earned runs in 41.0 IP.
Celie Hudson fired 6.0 innings while striking out nine and allowing just two earned runs in a no-decision duringGM1's win… the nine strikeouts marked the most for a UTC pitcher in a SoCon opener since Brooke Laudermilk in 2008.
- Mariah Ramirez improved to 10-0 with a 2.43 ERA this season… one of only two freshmen in NCAA DI with 10-0 record.

UP NEXT
Chattanooga and Furman will wrap up its three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network with links available on GoMocs.com under the softball schedule page.

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