CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – After a long and rainy night, the sun came out at Frost Stadium for the Chattanooga Mocs softball team to complete the three-game sweep of the Furman Paladins Sunday afternoon.
It’s the first three-game sweep of the season for Chattanooga and gives the Mocs a 4-1 Southern Conference record. With the loss, Furman falls to 2-3 in the SoCon. After two weekends of play, UTC sits in second place in the conference standing while Georgia Southern commands just a 0.5 game lead.
"It's always great to get a sweep," Head Coach Frank Reed said. "It was a close game. A great game for the fans to watch, but those games make coaches nervous. We had great pitching today from Katie and Taylor, and the bats came through when we needed them to."
Starting pitcher Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) picked up the win with a five-inning, one-hit performance. The sophomore struck out four batters, walking just one, and earned her eighth victory of the season. Junior Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) entered in the sixth inning to pick up her third save of the season.
Chattanooga struck first in the second inning with a bases-loaded RBI single from Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.). Freshman Jesslyn Stockard (Ringgold, Ga.) led off the inning with a towering double to right and senior Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) legged out a single to the second baseman to board two. Sophomore Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.), after a long battle with starting pitcher Lauren Collier, walked to load the bases, and Roberts smacked a shot to left-center to drive home Stockard.
Furman threatened with a runner on base with no outs in the top of the third inning. Despite a strikeout swinging, a passed ball allowed catcher Hannah Pace to first base. With one out on a strikeout, an amazing stretch at first base from covering second baseman Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) ensured a 1-4 putout at the bag, and a liner rocketed toward left was snagged out of the air by shortstop Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) to bring the potential scoring-inning to an end.
Jenny Garcia (Miami, Fla.) helped the Mocs to score their second run in the fourth inning with a leadoff walk to begin the frame. Dutton dropped a sacrifice bunt in front of the plate to move Garcia into scoring position, and Sam Taylor delivered with a line-painting double to left to score the speedy outfielder.
Sophomore catcher Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) added on a third run with a two-out single up the middle. A liner off the glove of Collier, Robles was able to reach first on the hard hit and Sam Taylor snuck in from third to put Chattanooga up 3-0 on the Paladins.
Robles led the Mocs with a 2-for-3 day at the plate, driving in one run. The catcher continues to lead Chattanooga with a .329 batting average and 28 hits.
Chattanooga is back in action next weekend as the Mocs travel to Greensboro, N.C., to take on the UNCG Spartans. Before the decision of Sunday’s final game against Samford, the Spartans are 2-3 in the SoCon.