CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Chattanooga Mocs softball team split its Saturday doubleheader with Elon with a 3-0 win in the first game but a 5-4 loss in the second.
“Katie Henderson pitched a great first game,” Head Coach Frank Reed said. “She was lights-out. I thought Taylor Deason pitched a great game, too, but we made too many errors. You can’t make errors and expect to win games. I feel bad for her. She pitched well.”
Chattanooga 3 - Elon 0
The Mocs claimed the first game of the day behind a six-inning, shutout performance behind starting pitcher Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.). The sophomore struck out six batters and gave up just four hits against 23 batters faced.
In turn, Elon starter Caitlin O’Shea allowed just four hits, as well, but three runs – two earned – allowed Chattanooga to disrupt her outing. The Mocs battery took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on two outs. Reaching on an error, sophomore Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) came around to score on an RBI-single to right off the bat of third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.).
Chattanooga added on a second run in the fourth as sophomore Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) doubled to center to lead off the inning. With Courtney Ervin (Seymour, Tenn.) pinch running at second, Nicole Osterman (Kissimmee, Fla.) fouled out to left to move the runner to third. Ervin then scored on a Jesslyn Stockard (Ringgold, Ga.) groundout to second, putting UTC up 2-0.
An insurance run crossed the plate in the sixth inning for the Mocs as Osterman doubled down the rightfield line with two outs. Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) then singled to center to bring the junior around from second.
Henderson returned in the top of the seventh inning to retire the Phoenix in order, coaxing a pop-out, groundout and a strikeout. It’s the righty’s team-leading 12th win of the season.
Chattanooga 4 - Elon 5 (8 Inn.)
An error plagued second game led to the fall of the Mocs 5-4 to the Phoenix to end Saturday’s doubleheader.
Again, the Mocs jumped out to the game’s first lead with two runs in the third inning. Back-to-back singles from Sam Taylor and Roberts set up an RBI single courtesy of Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.). Two batters later, Blanco also singled to drive in a run, putting Chattanooga up 2-0.
However, the Phoenix struck back in the fourth and fifth innings to go up 4-2 on UTC. After allowing Elon to score four runs – three unearned – starting pitcher Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) was pulled in the sixth for Henderson in relief. In five full innings of work, Deason sat down seven batters on strikes and allowed just four hits. Despite the outing, the junior was left on the hook after exiting.
With Henderson in the circle, Chattanooga added runs in the fifth and seventh to send the game to extra innings, taking Deason off the record and giving Henderson the decision. A sacrifice fly to left from Robles to score Alyssa Taylor pulled the Mocs within one and an error in the seventh tied the game 4-4, taking the contest to the eighth inning.
Elon’s Grace Eng, however, delivered the knockout punch in the top of the eighth. The first baseman clubbed a solo-homerun to left to put the Phoenix ahead 5-4. Chattanooga was unable to score any runs in the bottom of the inning.
The series wraps up Sunday at 2 p.m. as the Mocs and Phoenix meet for the final time in the regular season.