Pitching Helps Guide Lady Mocs to Sweep of Mountaineers

UTC-ASU Box Score (Game 1)
UTC-ASU Box Score (Game 2)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- Strong performances in the circle were huge for the Chattanooga softball team as the Lady Mocs (22-18/12-2 SoCon) swept away second place Appalachian State in a doubleheader on Saturday. UTC won the first contest in extra innings, beating ASU (17-22/9-8 SoCon) 3-2 in nine, while taking the second contest 4-0.

With the wins, the Lady Mocs extend their lead over the Mountaineers to four and a half games to remain atop the Southern Conference standings.

Game 1 went to Kaity Holloway (4-1), who pitched three perfect innings in relief of Brooke Loudermilk for the Lady Mocs. Kayla Richardson (9-12) took the loss, throwing eight and one-thirds of an inning and allowing three runs and striking out seven.

In the second game of the day, Michelle Fuzzard (8-6) shut down the ASU offense, allowing only four hits and striking out a career-tying eight batters for her fourth complete game shutout of the season. The offense was provided by Tiffany Baker in the game, who went 2-for-3 and belted her tenth home run of the season.

In the first game, the Chattanooga offense got to work early in the contest as UTC tallied three hits and a run off Richardson in the first. Kaiti Kelley gave the Lady Mocs its first baserunner of the contest with a one-out walk. Michelle Fuzzard sent Kelley to third with a single into right field to put runners at the corners with only out.

After a Tiffany Baker strikeout, Toni Hutchison put Chattanooga on the board with a run-scoring single into leftfield. The Lady Mocs threatened to put another run up in the frame, but Fuzzard was thrown out at home by Sarah Rappe on a Brittany Eason single.

Loudermilk was set to cruise control for the next few innings as the Mountaineer hitters could not figure out the righty. Over the next four innings the junior allowed only hit and struck out six ASU batters.

Richardson got into a groove of her own as well as the righthander held Chattanooga hitless through four strong innings.

Appalachian State was the next to strike as the Mountaineers finally solved Loudermilk in the sixth. The ASU rally began with a one-out single into center from Sarah Rappe. After another Loudermilk strikeout and a walk to Katie Boyd, Appalachian State broke through and tied the contest at one with a RBI single off the bat of Michelle Lighton.

The Chattanooga pitcher would escape without further damage by striking out Meagan Squartino.

In the bottom half of the sixth, the Lady Mocs answered with a rally of their own, which started with a one-out single from Hutchison. Pinch-runner Della Harrison would advance to second on a wild pitch before being driven in by an Eason single down the rightfield line.

Up 2-1 in the seventh, the Lady Mocs seemed poised for its fourth straight conference victory, but the late inning woes continued for UTC as the team was unable to hold the slim lead.

Rightfielder Brittany Gaston took the wind out of Chattanooga’s sails quick with a solo home run to leftfield to lead off the inning. Morgan Price then reached base on another hit, prompting the Lady Mocs to make a pitching change. In came Kaity Holloway and the sophomore retired the next three Mountaineer batters to extinguish the ASU rally in its tracks.

Richardson and Holloway continued their dominance over both offenses until the bottom of the ninth when the Chattanooga offense finally awoke. The frame began with a groundout by Jessica Traxler before the Lady Mocs rattled off three straight singles from Lauren Flores, Lyndsey Stiles and Kelley.

With the bases loaded, Fuzzard gave UTC the walk-off win with a fielder’s choice to short. Megan Rembielak’s throw was not in time at the plate as the Lady Mocs escaped with the 3-2 win.

Game 2 pitted Ashley Stubbs for ASU and Fuzzard for UTC in what was a pitcher’s duel through the early stages of the contest.

Stubbs was strong early for the Mountaineers as the freshman held Chattanooga without a hit until a Jenni Martin single in the third inning.

The righthander eventually ran into trouble however, courtesy of Baker and the long ball. In the fourth inning, the sophomore gave UTC a 2-0 thanks to a two-run blast to leftfield. The homer scored Fuzzard who had reached on her first single of the game.

That would be all the offense Fuzzard needed as the sophomore allowed only two more Mountaineer baserunners, en route to the 4-0 shutout. The two other UTC runs came in the sixth off errors from ASU first baseman Morgan Price.

The Lady Mocs will now take the week off from conference play as the team will play two out-of-conference road doubleheaders next week. UTC will play UAB on Thursday, Apr. 16 beginning at 6 p.m. ET. Chattanooga will then play at Kentucky on Sunday, Apr. 19.

Live stats will be available for all of the Lady Mocs’ contests at GoMocs.com.

Sarah Beth Roberts
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