CHATTANOOGA,T enn. – The Chattanooga Mocs softball team travels to Gulfport, Miss., Thursday afternoon for its five-game set at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Softball Classic, hosted by the City of Gulfport. The 10-team tournament schedule pins Chattanooga against Nicholls State, Ohio and UTSA, along with nationally-ranked No. 14 South Alabama and No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette.
Chattanooga is coming off an undefeated weekend at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga. The Mocs claimed wins over Northwestern State, Butler, Radford, Toledo and Campbell while hosting its first home games of 2014. UTC was led by sophomore shortstop and second baseman Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) and Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.), respectively. Both middle-infielders smashed two homeruns each and lifted their averages above .300. Chattanooga’s pitching staff was paced by sophomore Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) as the hurler posted a 3-0 mark and maintained a 0.82 ERA over 17.0 innings of work.
The Mocs begin the tournament Friday at 4 p.m. as they take on Nicholls State. On the season, Nicholls State is 5-11 with wins coming over Southern, Alabama State and Columbia. The Colonels are led by slugger Brittany Marcet. The senior is batting .391 and has clubbed four homeruns on the season. Her 13 RBI is a team-best.
Ohio and the Mocs face off at 7 p.m. Friday evening in the seventh game of the tournament. The Bobcats are off to a hot start, 12-1, including four wins at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., over the weekend. Ohio suffered its first loss of the season, a 6-5 falter, against Tennessee Tech in Chattanooga. The Bobcats battery features four batting above .350, and Ohio has already driven in over 50 runs on the season.
UTSA enters the tournament 7-8 on the year with its third game of the weekend coming at Noon Saturday against the Mocs. The Roadrunners look to Megan Low to lead the way offensively against UTC, as the junior is batting .429 with a team-leading eight homeruns and 19 RBI. The catcher is slugging over 1.000 and has totaled 45 bases.
Moving up from No. 19 to No. 14 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll, South Alabama enters the Classic at 11-1. Its only loss of the year was a 1-2 loss to Northwestern, but the Jaguars received a boost in the poll over last weekend with a 3-2 upset of No. 17 Georgia. In 2013, South Alabama claimed the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Mobile Regional.
The Mocs wrap up their weekend in the sun with their second ranked opponent of the tournament, third of the year, with Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 9-5-1 on the year and fell four spots from 20 to 24 in the USA Today/NFCA Poll last week. They suffered losses to South Florida and James Madison at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., last weekend. Notable wins for Louisiana-Lafayette include victories over North Carolina, Michigan, Memphis and Rutgers.
Live audio is available free for all games. Live stats are also available on GoMocs.com. For a full schedule of the tournament, click here.