GULFPORT, Miss. – The Chattanooga Mocs softball team claimed its seventh and eighth consecutive victories Friday evening with wins over Nicholls State and Ohio in Gulfport, Miss., at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Softball Classic. Chattanooga topped Nicholls State 1-0 with junior Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) recording the shutout, and rallied back to hand Ohio a 5-2 loss – just its third loss of the season.
Chattanooga 1 – Nicholls State 0
Chattanooga got off to a good start in the Classic with a 1-0 shutout-win over Nicholls State to begin the day Friday. While being held to just three hits in the game, the Mocs capitalized on a scoring opportunity in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
Sophomore Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) walked and stole second to put the Mocs into a good position early. Sophomore Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) followed up with a walk and Taylor advanced to third on an illegal pitch. With runners on the corners, sophomore shortstop Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.) lifted a high-fly to deep center. Caught just a few steps shy of the fence, Taylor was able to tag up and score on the sacrifice fly.
Over the next five innings, Deason allowed the Colonels just one hit and cruised to her fifth win of the season. The shutout was her first solo-shutout of the season. The junior whiffed six batters and issued just one free pass in seven innings of work.
Chattanooga 5 – Ohio 2
In the first inning of seven complete, things didn’t look promising for the Mocs. With starting pitcher Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) in the circle for Chattanooga, the Bobcats raked three hits for two runs in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead.
After a rocky start, Henderson settled in and carved up the Ohio lineup with great pitch-command and selection. Keeping the Bobcats off balance, Henderson allowed just three hits past the first inning and struck out seven Ohio batters.
That took care of things defensively. The offense then snapped out of its sleep and backed the sophomore’s great performance to hand her a fourth win.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning, with Chattanooga trailing 2-0, freshman Jesslyn Stockard (Ringgold, Ga.) crushed a solo-homerun to centerfield to cut the Ohio lead in half. Then with two outs, after Stockard’s third round-tripper of the season, senior Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) continued the rally with a triple slammed to the right-center gap. Sam Taylor singled up the middle to tie the game at 2-2, driving in Dutton, and Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) went deep to right-center to put the Mocs up 4-2 on a two-run shot. The homerun was Taylor’s fifth of the season.
The Mocs tacked on one insurance run in the seventh inning with Dutton doubling to center, her second hit of the afternoon. Sam Taylor then singled to move the senior to third and Alyssa Taylor popped a sac-fly to center to score the speedy outfielder.
Henderson slammed the door on the Bobcats in the bottom of the seventh by retiring the side in order – including a strikeout swinging.
Chattanooga is back in action Saturday at Noon when it takes on UTSA. The Mocs wrap up the Saturday double-dip with a 3:30 p.m. meeting with No. 24 Louisiana –Lafayette. Live stats are available for each game 10 minutes before first pitch. Live audio is available for both games, as well, beginning 15 minutes before first pitch.