Fuzzard’s Walk-Off Blast Propels Lady Mocs to Tournament Finals
Courtesy: Jeff Hurndon

UTC-Samford Box Score

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- One win away. That is how close the Chattanooga softball team is to its seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament after the Lady Mocs (29-22) defeated Samford on a walk-off home run from Michelle Fuzzard. Fuzzard belted a solo shot on a full count to put the Lady Mocs in the championship game for the second straight season.

Kandice Irwin (9-10) picked up the win for UTC as the sophomore allowed only one hit in two innings of relief of starter Brooke Loudermilk. Loudermilk was sharp once again for Chattanooga as she gave up two unearned runs in five innings.

Amanda Barrs (5-14) took the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing a run in one and two-thirds of an inning.

The contest began with Loudermilk breezing through the Samford lineup in the first and second innings. Then the Chattanooga offense gave the UTC hurler some run support. On the first pitch in the bottom of the second, Baker blasted her 12th home run of the season into the right-centerfield bleachers.

Toni Hutchison stepped up next and lined a single into left, but she would remain stranded on the basepaths as UTC finished the second frame with a 1-0 lead.

The lead would not last long though, as the Bulldog offense went to work quickly in the third as Whitney Terry reached on an error by Loudermilk to lead off the inning. After Terry was sacrifice to second by Amanda Jordan, Amy Gonzalez struck out looking to give Chattanooga the second out of the inning.

An infield single from Jessica Owens put runners on the corners and with Robyn Harmon up to the plate; Terry was able to score on a wild pitch from Loudermilk. Harmon then gave Samford a one-run lead with a double into left centerfield.

Both offenses then went into a brief hiatus as the two squads had a combined one hit from the bottom of the third to the bottom of the fifth. In the last half of the fifth inning, the Lady Mocs were finally able to string together a rally. Lyndsey Stiles got UTC its first baserunner of the frame as the sophomore drew a walk. Kaiti Kelley then put runners at first and second with an infield single to first base.

Samford reliever Robyn Harmon continued to struggle in the inning as the right-hander then walked Fuzzard to load the bases. Up came Baker again and the sophomore drove in her second run of the afternoon on a fielder’s choice to third base, which tied the game at two.

With the game tied at two, Irwin continued to cruise as she allowed only a single hit in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the bottom half of the sixth, the Lady Mocs threatened to take the lead, but left the bases loaded as Jessica Traxler was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice.

The Chattanooga offense would rebound in the seventh though as Fuzzard led of the frame with her seventh home run of the season.

Also in the win, Toni Hutchison broke the career mark for assists on a Whitney Terry ground out in the fifth inning. The senior now has 510 assists in her career, breaking the previous record of 508 which was set by Leah Tucker from 1998-2001.

The Lady Mocs will now wait to play the winner of Samford and Georgia Southern at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Live stats and streaming video, with play-by-play, will be available at GoMocs.com.

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