MT. PLEASANT, S.C. --- Despite scoring seven runs, the Chattanooga softball team was unable to hold onto an early lead as the Lady Mocs (26-22/15-5 SoCon) dropped a 10-7 decision to the College of Charleston on Sunday. Michelle Fuzzard went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the win, while Jenni Martin belted her third home run of the season in the regular season finale.
Kaity Holloway (4-4) picked up the loss for UTC, allowing four earned runs in an inning of relief of Kandice Irwin. Irwin threw five innings of split-duty, giving up six runs off six hits and walking five. Shannon Howard (7-11) notched the win for the Cougars (23-24/14-9 SoCon), throwing six innings and allowing only three runs.
Lyndsey Stiles led off the afternoon picking up right where the sophomore left off yesterday. The centerfielder recorded her first triple of the season with a line drive over Katie Forbes’s head in rightfield. After a walk to Kaity Kelley, Michelle Fuzzard put the Lady Mocs on the board first with a sacrifice fly to leftfield to score Stiles.
In the bottom half of the first the Cougars answered right back, thanks to the bats of Christal Kotchman and Shannon Howard. With one out in the frame, Kotchman quickly tied the contest at one with her second home run of the season. After a single and stolen base from Amber Shifflett, Howard gave CofC a one run advantage with a single into centerfield.
Reminiscent of yesterday’s five-run inning the game two, the Lady Mocs once again staged a big rally, this time in the top of the second. The frame began with three straight singles from Toni Hutchison, Brittany Eason and Jessica Traxler. Traxler’s single brought in Hutchison to tie the game at two apiece.
Tia Blosser was then walked to load the bases. After a fielder’s choice retired Eason at home, Stiles drove in a run on a bases loaded walk to give UTC a 3-2 lead. Chattanooga would tack on two more runs in the inning thanks to a fielder’s choice from Kelley and single from Fuzzard, giving the Lady Mocs a 5-2 lead after their turn at bat.
Irwin sat down the Cougars in order in the second, but things would go downhill quickly for the Lady Mocs from there.
In the third and fourth innings, CofC would put up back-to-back four run innings off eight hits. The scoring barrage in the third began with a Kotchman fielder’s choice which scored Kristi Woodall. A two-run Howard double capped off the scoring in the third as the Cougars went into the fourth with a 6-5 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Chattanooga was able to tie the game back up with a bases loaded walk of Toni Hutchison, but a strikeout of Eason left the bags full of Lady Mocs going into the bottom of the fourth.
In the bottom half, CofC’s offense revved right back up with singles from Woodall, Kotchman and Amber Shifflett. Kristie Shifflett gave the Cougars their second run of the inning with a sacrifice fly, before Howard struck again with a two-run home run to deep leftfield to give the College of Charleston a commanding 10-6 lead.
The UTC offense could only muster one more run in the contest as Jenni Martin in a pinch-hit, solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
The Lady Mocs will now get ready for the 2009 Southern Conference Softball Tournament, which will be held at Jim Frost Stadium in Chattanooga.
The team is the top seed in the tourney and will play the winner of the play-in game which features No. 8 Western Carolina and No. 9 Elon. The Catamounts and Phoenix will play at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 6. UTC will play the winner that same day at 7 p.m. from Frost Stadium.
TIckets for the 2009 tournament will be $30 for an all-tournament pass or $5 for a single session.
UTC will also be providing shuttle service for patrons of the tournament due to ongoing construction at Warner Park. Fans will be encouraged to park at Engel Stadium to ride the shuttle. The historic stadium is located at 1130 E. 3rd St. in Chattanooga. The shuttle will run all day long for fans.