CULLOWHEE, N.C. – The Chattanooga Lady Mocs (19-16, 4-3 SoCon) defeated Western Carolina (11-22, 3-7 SoCon) Friday night 7-5 to take the first game of a three-game set in Cullowhee, N.C. There were only two innings – the third and seventh innings – neither team managed to put a run on the board. Despite the rainy conditions, a five-run fourth inning was the difference in the Good Friday contest.
"Western Carolina is a team that can sneak up on you," Head Coach Frank Reed. "You saw that today. We built up a nice little lead and that almost wasn't enough. Now we have to stay focused and try to get two tomorrow."
Both teams put a run on the board in the first inning as Chattanooga capitalized on a Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) ground out to score leadoff hitter Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.) to lead to a 1-0 lead over the Catamounts, but WCU struck back in the bottom of the inning with one swing of the bat. Starting pitcher Taylor Sigmon blasted a Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) pitch over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1.
Chattanooga took a permanent lead in the second inning on two outs as Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) singled up the middle. The freshman then stole second base and Poteat drove a ball, left out of the outside part of the plate, to left-center field to plate the speedy shortstop, pushing UTC ahead 2-1.
Deason held the Catamounts scoreless in the third and fourth innings, striking out two over the two frames, before Chattanooga exploded for five runs in the fourth inning. The Lady Mocs scored all five runs on just two hits and an error as Ninjja Suetsugu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) began the rally with a single, Tyler Templet (Woodstock, Ga.) and Alyssa Taylor reached on an error to bring in the first run. Poteat reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases and freshman Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) delivered the big punch with a two-RBI single up the middle, leading to a 5-1 advantage.
After three runs scored in the inning, Sigmon was pulled from the mound and Jordan Garrett took over in the circle, but the reliever would prove to be wild out of the pen. The sophomore tossed two wild pitches in the inning, allowing two more Lady Mocs runners to cross the plate, stretching the Chattanooga lead to 7-1.
A two-run home run by WCU third baseman Haley Pace in the fourth inning cut the UTC lead to four runs and another run in the fifth led to a three-run advantage for the Lady Mocs. Chattanooga left the bases loaded in the sixth inning and the Catamounts were able to add on one more run in the bottom of the inning, but a scoreless seventh ended the three-hour melee between the two teams, 7-5.
Deason walked away with the complete-game-victory, going seven innings with six hits to improve to 13-7 on the season. The sophomore struck out five WCU batters while allowing just four earned runs to score.
Offensively, Poteat and Sam Taylor each collected two hits. Poteat rounded the bases two to score two runs and Taylor provided a game-best two RBI in the two-run victory.
Chattanooga wraps up the series tomorrow at Noon with a double-header. Both games are available on Game Tracker and live audio is provided free through MocsVision.