CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team (23-16, 8-3 SoCon) took a couple of games from Georgia Southern (18-22, 5-5 SoCon) in the series’ Saturday opener. The Lady Mocs claimed the first game of the double-header 6-5 in a late-inning nail biter while completing the Saturday sweep with a 3-0 shutout in game two.
"We really wanted these wins," outfielder Kaiti Dutton said. "After how we lost the regular season crown last season, we wanted to make sure Georgia Southern wouldn't keep it from us again. It was personal for the returning players this season, and I think the freshmen understood that, too."
Chattanooga 6 – Georgia Southern 5
The Lady Mocs fell behind early in the first inning as the Eagles plated two runs on starting pitcher Rachel Albritton (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), but a steady diet of runs from the Chattanooga offense would provide support for the freshman through six innings.
Chattanooga scored a run in each of the six offensive halves to score the game’s six runs. After being hit by a pitch and stealing second, senior Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.) scored on a Kasey Tydingco (Fairfield, Calif.) sacrifice fly to score the Lady Mocs first run. The tying run scored in the second as back-to-back walks led off the inning and Georgia Southern starting pitcher Sarah Purvis was pulled from the game. A Poteat double off of fresh pitcher Brooke Red tied the game at 2-2.
UTC added on another run in the third on a hit and two errors as junior Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) singled in Tydingco- putting Chattanooga on top 3-2 – and a wild pitch in the fourth inning opened the door for Poteat to swipe home to put the Lady Mocs up 4-2.
Another run and hit in the fifth inning put Chattanooga up 5-2 on an Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) single up the middle to plate Dutton and two hits in the sixth inning – an RBI single up the middle from Tydingco – gave Chattanooga its fifth and sixth runs of the game.
The Lady Mocs ran into trouble in the top of the seventh inning as three runs scored to bring the UTC lead within one, but sophomore Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) was brought on to close out the seventh, recording three outs and her first save of the season.
Albritton walked away from the game with her sixth win of the season, tossing six complete innings and allowing just six hits to the Eagles. Despite being touched up for five runs, Albritton had only three earned runs counted against her ERA. Deason finished the game with an inning pitched and three strikeouts to slam the door on Georgia Southern.
Chattanooga 3 - Georgia Southern 0
Chattanooga got on the board early with a run in the first inning as Tydingco singled to right field. Base-runners Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Poteat advanced a base each on the play, but hesitation by the Eagles’ cutoff allowed Poteat to motor home from third to give UTC a 1-0 lead.
Georgia Southern threatened in the third inning, loading the bases up with two outs. A dropped popup in foul territory led to Eagles shortstop Kourtny Thomas getting extra swing with the bags juiced, but Deason would coax a popup on the infield to retire the GSU half.
Back-to-back singles from Poteat and Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) led off the third inning for the Lady Mocs. A groundout from Robles advanced the runners and a sacrifice fly from Tydingco drove in the innings first run. The second run of the inning came courtesy of Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) as the junior ripped a single to the right-center gap to put the Lady Mocs up 3-0.
The next four innings were scoreless for each team as Deason carved up the Eagle lineup with only four hits allowed over seven innings of work and six strikeouts.
Chattanooga wraps up the series Sunday at 2 p.m. at Frost Stadium against the Eagles before hitting the road for a three-game set against the College of Charleston Cougars in Charleston, S.C.