BIRMINGHAM --- In its final midweek games of the season, the Chattanooga softball team split with UAB on Thursday. The Lady Mocs (23-19) took the first game 4-2, but fell in game two to the Blazers (13-28), 5-1.
In the opening game of the twin bill, the Lady Mocs used clutch hitting and a strong outing from Brooke Loudermilk (5-1) for the 4-2 win.
Michelle Fuzzard (8-7) was unable to hold down the Blazers’ offense in the nightcap as UAB pulled off the split with a 5-1 win in game two.
In the top of the third, the Lady Mocs struck first in the opening game thanks to a miscue by UAB. Jenni Martin led off the inning with a walk and Jessica Traxler was then hit by a pitch to put two runners on with no one out.
After a sacrifice by Lauren Flores moved the runners to second and third, UTC got its first run of the afternoon thanks to an error by the Blazers’ first baseman, Laura Callaway. Callaway dropped a throw from the pitcher on a tapper from Lyndsey Stiles, which allowed Stiles to score.
Chattanooga would not stop there as the Lady Mocs would tag on another run during the next bat thanks to a RBI single from Kaiti Kelley, giving the Lady Mocs a 2-0 lead.
Loudermilk cruised through the third, but ran into trouble in the fourth as UAB was able to scratch across its first run on a sacrifice fly by Laura Callaway. The Blazers would tie the contest at two the very next inning thanks to doubles from Kayla Harris and Caley Walden.
After being held to just one hit through the first five innings, the Lady Mocs’ offense finally showed signs of life thanks to Tiffany Baker, Toni Hutchison and Brittany Eason. Baker started the UTC rally with a one-out single into leftfield. Hutchison stepped in next and drove in the second baseman with a double into centerfield to give Chattanooga a 3-2 lead.
Eason stepped in next and gave the Lady Mocs a big insurance run with a single into left, scoring Hutchison and giving UTC a 4-2 lead.
That would be all the support Loudermilk needed as the righty closed the game out for Chattanooga, allowing only three UAB baserunners through the sixth and seventh.
In the nightcap, the Lady Mocs were in a hole early thanks to a sloppy first inning. Fuzzard was able to record Walden for the first out, but then ran into trouble. The righty then walked Martina Landrum to put runners on first and second. The UTC defense then struggled to bail out Fuzzard as Traxler and Hutchison each made errors.
Hutchison’s miscue came with two outs in the inning and Chattanooga was unable to escape without damage as Mandy Lowman drew a bases loaded walk to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately for UTC and Fuzzard, the UAB bats were productive in the second inning as well. The frame began with a single from Donna Plath, followed by a strikeout of Maegan Hornsby. The Blazers then had a single from Walden and a walk from Landrum to load the bases. UAB tacked on its second run of the game with a sac fly from Douglass to extend its lead to 2-0. Amanda Allen then broke the game open with a bases-clearing double to put the Blazers up 4-0 and knock Fuzzard out of the game.
Kaity Holloway entered the game for UTC in relief of Fuzzard and retired the first batter she faced to end the second.
That would be all the help Amber Torres (5-5) need for UAB as the right-hander allowed only one run on a Traxler squeeze bunt in the fourth as the Blazers cruised to the 5-1 win.
The Lady Mocs will now wrap up their nonconference schedule on Sunday, Apr. 19 against Southeastern Conference foe Kentucky. First pitch for the scheduled doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Lexington, Ky.
Live stats for both contests will be available at GoMocs.com.