CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Chattanooga Mocs softball team kicks off a five-game homestand Wednesday afternoon with a doubleheader against Tennessee Tech beginning at 4 p.m. at Frost Stadium. The 19-14 Mocs and the 10-26 Golden Eagles pick up their in-state rivalry for the third season in a row. Last year, Chattanooga claimed a 2-1 win over TTU in Cookeville, Tenn., last April.
The Mocs are coming off a series win in Greensboro, N.C., over UNCG. Chattanooga took two of three games from the Spartans to improve its Southern Conference record to 6-2. UTC is currently second place in the SoCon standings, just 1.5 games behind 8-1 Georgia Southern.
Sophomore Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) is currently riding a 12-game hitting streak, collecting four hits over the weekend against UNCG. The streak is the longest of the season by any Moc, and it has raised her average to .299 since beginning her tear at the plate March 8 in Clearwater, Fla., against Central Michigan.
Junior Nicole Osterman (Kissimmee, Fla.) was also impressive in the Chattanooga lineup at Greensboro, garnering five hits in 12 at-bats, including two monstrous homeruns. The left fielder drove in four runs and scored three times in 14 total plate appearances, reaching base twice the hard way – hit by pitch.
The pitching duo of sophomore Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) and junior Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) continues to be solid for Chattanooga, holding ERAs of 2.31 and 0.99, respectively. Henderson picked up her ninth and 10th wins against UNCG while Deason recorded her fourth save.
Across the diamond occupying the first base dugout Wednesday, Tennessee Tech makes its fourth trip to Chattanooga in three seasons. This time, the Golden Eagles return with a familiar face to Frost Stadium in the dugout with former Moc Tiffany (Baker) Wilkinson as an assistant coach.
Tech was in Chattanooga in February to take part in the Frost Classic. While at the Classic, the Eagles were 4-1 with wins over Toledo, Ohio, Campbell and Radford. Since February, TTU has gone 5-18 – including a 2-8 Ohio Valley Conference record – but the lineup is dangerous with some pop.
Junior outfielder Angi Sakomoto and senior catcher Chelsea Burgess have each blasted four homeruns, tying the two for the team lead. Along with the round-trippers, Sakamoto leads TTU with 16 RBI while Burgess is tied for second with 15 RBI alongside sophomore Madison Taylor. Taylor, an outfielder, is batting a team-best .288 with three homers.
Freshman Danielle Liberatore leads the Golden Eagles pitching staff with five wins while sophomore Hannah Weaver places second with three. Weaver has pitched in 95.0 innings and posts a 3.98 ERA while Liberatore has thrown in 80.2 innings.
To go along with Wednesday’s doubleheader, the athletics department is also hosting a “Mocs Fly Together” pizza party before the start of the game for all UTC student-athletes and staff members to celebrate the nearing end of another successful year. Beginning at 3 p.m., free pizza and Coca-Cola products will be available at the gates for all Mocs.