Chattanooga clinches ninth Southern Conference Tournament title with 10-1 win over Georgia Southern
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Hurndon - No. 1 Chattanooga celebrates is 2008 Southern Conference Tournament clinching 10-1 victory over Georgia Southern
No. 1 Chattanooga vs. No. 2 Georgia Southern Box Score
Mt. PLEASANT, S.C. – A pair of home runs from senior shortstop Tara Tembey (Folsom, Calif.) and a nine run fifth inning propelled No. 1 Chattanooga (41-20) to a 10-1 victory over No. 2 Georgia Southern (37-30) in the deciding game of the 2008 Southern Conference Championship on May 10 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
After scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Georgia Southern 3-2 in the first game, the Lady Mocs wasted little time in taking the early advantage on the Eagles in the deciding game for the 2008 Southern Conference Championship. Leading off the game, Tara Tembey cracked her sixth home run of the season to deep centerfield to give Chattanooga a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles responded in the bottom of the inning as first baseman Sam Russo belted a solo shot out to center to tie the game at 1-1. The score would remain that way until the top of the fifth inning when UTC erupted at the plate.
Following two quick fly outs to begin the inning, junior outfielder Laci Upchurch (Madison, Tenn.) drew a walk and senior outfielder Ashlan Clarkson (Chickamauga, Ga.) doubled her home with a shot to left to give Chattanooga a 2-1 advantage. It was only the beginning as back-to-back singles by redshirt-freshman second baseman Tiffany Baker (East Ridge, Tenn.) and sophomore catcher Lynleigh Hurndon (McDonough, Ga.) produced another run to push the lead to 3-1.
Sophomore catcher Brittany Eason (Chattanooga, Tenn.) then put the game out of reach with a two-RBI double to left center for a 5-1 lead and Tembey then drove her second home run of the game over the left field fence to make it 7-1. Far from done, freshman outfielder Lauren Flores (Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.) and freshman first baseman Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach, Calif.) delivered back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second.
Junior third baseman Toni Hutchison (Madison, Tenn.) then drilled a frozen rope over the left field fence for her seventh blast of the season, this one a three-run shot to push UTC’s lead to 10-1. All tolled, Chattanooga mounted one of the most memorable two-out rallies in the history of the Southern Conference as they scored nine runs on eight hits, all with two outs.
It would be all they would need as freshman pitcher Kandice Irwin (Knoxville, Tenn.) pitched three scoreless, hitless innings of relief, including a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth inning to close out the nine-run victory and clinch the 2008 Southern Conference Tournament.
Irwin picked up the win to move to 9-8 on the year while Megan Smith dropped to 13-9 on the year.
At the plate, Tara Tembey went 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs off of her career-high tying two home runs while Toni Hutchison was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and her seventh long ball of the year. Lauren Flores tied her career-high for hits with a 3-for-4 performance and added a run while Ashlan Clarkson finished 2-for-3 with a run, RBI, walk and double.
Laci Upchurch went 1-for-1 with a run and a walk and Brittany Eason was 1-for-2 with a two-RBI double. Lynleigh Hurndon added a hit and an RBI.
In order to claim the 2008 Southern Conference Tournament Championship, and the automatic bid to the NCAA that goes with it, Chattanooga had to win five consecutive games, including three on Saturday. UTC defeated No. 7 Appalachian State 9-1 and No. 3 College of Charleston 5-2 on Friday, May 9 to avoid elimination and downed No. 5 UNC Greensboro 3-0 and No. 2 Georgia Southern 3-2 and 10-1.
It is the first time a team has won the tournament from the loser’s bracket since Georgia Southern won the 2006 championship.
With three home runs in the final game of the tournament, the 2008 Lady Mocs now have 48 home runs on the season, passing the all-time mark of 46 set by the 2006 ball club.
Chattanooga will now await the announcement of the 2008 NCAA Tournament field tomorrow evening. The announcement of the brackets will be carried live on ESPNU at 10:00 p.m. following the network’s coverage of NCAA Men’s Lacrosse.
The Lady Mocs will host a gathering to watch the Selection Show at Buffalo Wild Wings on Broad Street. The general public is invited to join Chattanooga players and staff as they see where they will be seeded for the NCAA Tournament.