Tuscaloosa: Baker's Launching Pad; Lady Mocs Play Alabama in Finals

Courtesy: Dale Rutemeyer
Senior Tiffany Baker hit three home runs for the Lady Mocs lifting them in two games on Saturday.

No. 2 Chattanooga vs. No. 3 Memphis
May 21, 2011

Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Rhoads Stadium)

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
UTC (42-13)
0 0
JSU (25-19)
WP: Michelle Fuzzard (18-6) LP: Carly Hummel (21-8)
S: Kandice Irwin (8)

Game Notes:
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Senior third baseman Tiffany Baker (East Ridge, Tenn.) had a career day blasting three two-run homers as the Lady Mocs defeated Jackson State, 8-1, and then knocked off Memphis, 2-1, to advance to the championship game of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional against Alabama. The contest with the Crimson Tide is set to being at 2 p.m. (E.D.T) on Sunday.

The three homers for the East Ridge, Tenn., native moved her Chattanooga single-season record to 18 and SoCon all-time leading total to 50. She has now hit four home runs in her career during the NCAA Tournament at Rhoads Stadium.

Senior pitcher Kandice Irwin (Knoxville, Tenn.) started and went 4.2 innings registering three strikeouts. Junior Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach, Calif.) tossed 2.1 innings of relief to record the victory and improve to 18-6 on the season.

Coming back in with two outs in the seventh was Irwin, who fanned the final batter and earned her eighth save of the year. She now has 21 saves and moved into a tie for third with Mallory Alred, Canisus (2006-09).

The Lady Mocs started the first with an infield single to short by senior center fielder Lyndsey Stiles (Hixson, Tenn.). A sacrifice bunt to the pitcher moved Stiles to second.

During a 10-pitch at bat in the third, sophomore first baseman Kasey Tydignco (Fairfield, Calif.) drew a walk and took second on a groundout. A single by junior shortstop Jessica Traxler (Chino Hills, Calif.) up the middle allowed head coach Frank Reed to send the runner home, but was gunned out by the center fielder Kamri Chester to end the frame.

Memphis made a pitching change in the fourth bringing in Carly Hmmel, who one-hit the Lady Mocs in the first game of the regional. Senior designated player Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach, Calif.) started off the frame with a single to left, but freshman Layne Rainey (Clarksville, Tenn.), who came in to pinch run, was left stranded.

With one out in the fifth, Traxler hit a drive to left that the Lelani Bernardino was able catch at the base of the fence.

The Tigers threatened in the fifth as Jessica Phillips singled through the right side and took second on a sacrifice bunt. A single up the middle put runners on the corners with one out and in came Fuzzard to pitch. She induced a foul out to the catcher and a strikeout to end the frame.

The sixth inning started for Chattanooga as Fuzzard was plunked with a pitch. Baker then drove a shot over the fence in left center providing the Lady Mocs with a 2-0 lead.

Memphis drew a walk to start off the seventh and a one-out hit-by-pitch put two runners on the base paths. A foul out to the catcher was the second out of the frame and Nikki Moreno delivered a RBI single to left cutting the lead to one, 2-1.

After head coach Frank Reed went to talk to his pitcher Fuzzard, he decided to go with closer Irwin, who fanned the final hitter and secure the victory.

Throwing in the circle for the Tigers was Janelle Valle and Hummel, who combined for two strikeouts. Moreno notched two of the four hits for Memphis during the contest.

GoMocs.com has complete coverage of the Tuscaloosa Regional with links to live stats, audio and video available on the softball schedule page. The voice of the Lady Mocs Tyler Brown will have the play-by-play call through MocsVision.

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