STATESBORO, Ga. – The Chattanooga Mocs softball team split its Saturday double header with Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga. The Eagles took the first game 3-1 but the Mocs struck back in the second game with a 2-1 win.
Chattanooga 1 – Georgia Southern 3 (Game One)
Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) led off the game with a walk and reached second on a sacrifice bunt from Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.). Despite putting a runner in scoring position with one out, a great diving grab in left field by Georgia Southern’s Emily Snider robbed Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) of an at-bat and a strikeout ended the inning with the runner at second.
Eagles leadoff Taylor Rogers sent a tapper through the infield into center and swiped second on the following pitch from Henderson in the bottom of the first, but the Chattanooga right-hander responded by popping up two batters and striking out a third to get out of the frame unharmed.
Sophomore Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) was plunked by a Purvis pitch to lead off the second and stole second to put herself in scoring position. With two outs, Jesslyn Stockard (Ringgold, Ga.) ripped a single through the right side to move Blanco to third, but a pop-out ended the inning with runners on the corners.
The third inning saw much of the same as Alyssa Taylor pulled a single to right field with two outs and stole second. Despite the spark, the Mocs were unable to move the shortstop around to score.
Georgia Southern boarded one runner in the bottom of the third inning as AJ Hamilton was hit by a pitch to load off. In an attempt to sacrifice the runner to second, Breanna McLendon popped out to the catcher and Rogers lined into a 1-4 double play to end the inning.
First baseman Morgan Robinson gave the Eagles the first lead of the game in the fourth inning on a two-run shot to right. Scoring Kourtny Thomas on the two-out homer, Georgia Southern sent the game to the fifth with a 2-0 lead.
A sneaky slide from second baseman Lexi Allen put the Eagles up 3-0 in the fifth after leading off with a double to left. Hamilton followed up with a hard single to right to drive Allen to the plate. A throw to the dish from Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) in right had the runner cut down, but a wide slide to avoid the tag from Robles allowed the runner to slide past and touch home on a second attempt.
Chattanooga cut into the 3-0 lead in the top of the seventh as Roberts blasted her fourth homerun of the season to left, but the solo shot was not enough to spark an UTC comeback. The Mocs fell 3-1 in the first game of the series.
Henderson was handed the loss, dropping her record to 14-9, while Purvis improved to 17-10. Despite giving up just five hits and three runs, the offense was not able to back Henderson. The Mocs left seven runners on base.
Chattanooga 2 – Georgia Southern 1 (Game Two)
The Mocs struck first in the second as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Georgia Southern. Starting pitcher Brooke Red hit Blanco with a pitch and recorded two quick outs. With two down and one on, Tyler Templet (Woodstock, Ga.) singled to the shortstop. A throwing error allowed Blanco to score and Chattanooga took a 1-0 advantage. In the following at-bat, Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) swatted a double to right-center to score Templet from second.
Eagles’ shortstop Kourtny Thomas shortened the UTC lead in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo homerun to left. The homer cut the lead to 2-1 and was Thomas’ 14th round-tripper of the season.
Junior Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) finished off the contest with a three up, three down seventh inning to claim the win for Chattanooga – her 12th victory of the year. The right-hander gave up just four hits and one earned run on the evening, striking out five Eagles through seven frames of work.
Chattanooga and Georgia Southern play for the series win Sunday at 1 p.m. in the rubber match. The game is available via free live stats and Georgia Southern All-Access pay-per-view video.