GREENSBORO, N.C. – A career game for sophomore Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) could not have come at a more opportune time than Wednesday morning in Greensboro, N.C., in the first game of the Southern Conference Championships. The right-hander whiffed 15 Appalachian State batters, tying a SoCon tournament single-game record, and led Chattanooga to a 3-0 win.
“It was important for us to win the first game of the tournament,” Head Coach Frank Reed said. “Katie pitched an amazing game and the offense was aggressive to begin the game. I would like to see a little more aggression at the plate, but I am overall please by our performance.”
Henderson began the game by retiring the striking out the side in the first and second innings and totaling seven Ks within the first three frames.
To accompany the sophomore’s smooth start, the bats provided an early run to back the hurler. Junior Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) led off the bottom of the first with a solo homerun to right on the first pitch she saw. The blast, her sixth of the season, was her second postseason homerun. Her first came in 2012 at Appalachian State against the College of Charleston.
Leading 1-0 through four, the Mocs small-ball led to a second UTC run in the bottom of the fifth as Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) lined a single down the line in left with one out on the board. A Roberts’ grounder moved the sophomore to second, and single to left off the bat of Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) gave Chattanooga a 2-0 lead.
The final run of the game crossed in the sixth. Nicole Osterman (Kissimmee, Fla.) reached base on a hot single up the middle followed up by a sacrifice bunt from Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) to move the junior to second. Senior Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) delivered an RBI-single to left to score Osterman.
Henderson finished off the Mountaineers by holding them to three hits through the final three innings. The shutout was Henderson’s fourth of the year.
The Mocs move on to face No. 3 Furman Thursday at 2 p.m. Live stats and video are both available free via the GoMocs softball schedule page.