Lady Mocs Historic Season Ends in Tuscaloosa Regional Final

Courtesy: Jeff Hurndon
Senior Lyndsey Stiles notched a two-RBI double in the sixth to put the Lady Mocs on the scoreboard.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Chattanooga
May 21, 2011

Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Rhoads Stadium)

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
UA (48-8)
0 4
UTC (44-13)
WP: Kelsi Dunn (25-3)  LP: Kandice Irwin (12-4)

Game Notes:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team ended a historic season on Sunday with an 11-2 loss to No. 3 Alabama in the finals of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional at Rhoads Stadium. The Lady Mocs were in their first regional final in eight NCAA appearances.

Chattanooga set a program record for best winning percentage with a 44-14 (.773) record during the season. The offense was the driving force, which came into the regional leading the nation in batting average and was the most dynamic lineup in the 18-year history of the program.

The careers of six seniors - Tiffany Baker (East Ridge, Tenn.), Lauren Flores (Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga.), Della Harrison (Nashville, Tenn.), Kandice Irwin (Knoxville, Tenn.), Lyndsey Stiles (Hixson, Tenn.) and Nikki Waters (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) came to an end at Rhoads Stadium. The class will be remembered for being one of the greatest in the history of the program as they captured four Southern Conference Regular Season Championships, three SoCon Tournament titles and three NCAA Regional appearances, all in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Chattanooga scored two runs on a double by Stiles in the sixth to put the Lady Mocs on the scoreboard. Prior to that frame, the only Lady Moc hit came off the bat of Baker during the fifth against Alabama starter Kelsi Dunn.

Three Lady Moc hurlers threw for the Lady Mocs as Waters was the strongest tossing 4.2 innings and striking out three. Irwin and junior Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach, Calif.) also saw time in the circle for Chattanooga.

The Lady Mocs had a rough start in the first inning as leadoff hitter Kayla Braud was hit and took second base on the next pitch, her 54th stolen base of the year. An infield single by Jennifer Fenton up the middle put runners at the corners.

A double steal by Fenton allowed Braud to score the first run of the game. Fenton scored on a ground out before Amanda Locke doubled to left with one out.

A line drive off the bat of Jazlyn Lunceford hit the glove of pitcher Irwin and then went off her head towards second baseman Poteat. The game stopped for five minutes as Irwin was evaluated and she was given a standing ovation on her way to the dugout.

Entering the game for the Lady Mocs was Waters and Lunceford immediately took second before Locke scored on a wild pitch. The Soddy Daisy, Tenn., settled down to end the inning on a strikeout and ground out.

During the Chattanooga first with two out, senior designated player Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach, Calif.) sent a 2-2 pitch down the right field line and Lunceford made a diving catch in foul territory.

The first matchup between Baker and Kelsi Dunne in the second was as advertised as the pitcher won the 11-pitch at bat on a strike out, but not before the East Ridge, Tenn., native hit a couple of shots foul.

Waters continued to dazzle in the circle for Chattanooga as she struck out her third opponent and forced two fly outs to conclude the third.

The Crimson Tide started off the fourth with a walk and single up the middle. With one out, junior shortstop Jessica Traxler (Chino Hills, Calif.) caught a liner and doubled off the runner at second to retire the side.

In the fifth, singles up the middle and down the left field line by Fenton and Larson, respectively, put two on base for Locke, who connected on a towering home run over the scoreboard in left during the fifth, 6-0.

Following the play, head coach Frank Reed was ejected on a technicality for his second visit in an inning as freshman catcher Natalie Powers (Gleenpool, Okla.) came to the dugout. The Crimson Tide added another run extending their lead to 7-0.

Starting off the fifth for the Lady Mocs was Baker with a single through the right side off Dunn, but would be stranded after Harrison flew out to center after an 11-pitch at bat.

Alabama blew the game wide open in the sixth as they scored four runs on four hits to take an 11-0 advantage.

As Lauren Sewell came in to pitch for Alabama, Traxler singled to left center and freshman Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) came in to pinch run. A single through the left side put two runners on base and Stiles cleared them with a double to left, 11-2.

Picking up the victory was Kelsi Dunne, who pitched five innings and gave up one hit striking out eight to improve to 26-3.

Larson paced the offense with three hits and two RBI, while Fuenton, Locke and Lunceford each had two base knocks. Locke led the team with three runs batted in, which included a home run.

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