CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Chattanooga softball team can once again call itself the Southern Conference Softball Tournament champs after defeating Georgia Southern in the championship game 7-2 on Saturday. The victory was the Lady Mocs’ (30-22) second-straight title game win, and 10th overall. Georgia Southern (29-25) has now lost three-straight title games after winning its second tournament title in 2006. The Lady Mocs will now advance to the program’s seventh NCAA Tournament.
Kandice Irwin (10-10) picked up the win in relief for the Lady Mocs as the sophomore continued her stellar tournament. Irwin threw four strong innings in relief of Brooke Loudermilk and did not allow a run on four hits, while striking out four and walking none. Kristan Glover (8-5) took the loss for the Eagles.
Leading the way for the Lady Mocs was Baker who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Fuzzard was 1-for-4, but had two RBIs. In a losing effort, Eagles’ freshman Marie Fogle had a pair of RBIs.
Both starters put up zeroes in the first two innings, before Chattanooga was able to break through first in the third inning. Tiffany Baker helped draw first blood for the Lady Mocs with a single that brought in Kaiti Kelley for the game’s first run. That would not be all for Chattanooga as back-to-back, run-scoring singles from Brittany Eason and Jenni Martin gave UTC a 3-0 lead after two-and-a-half innings.
The potent Georgia Southern offense would not be quiet for long however as the Eagles answered back in bottom of the third with two runs of their won. The big blow came in the form of a two-run double from Marie Fogle.
That would be all for the scoring for both teams from the fourth through the sixth inning as Irwin and Brianna Streetmon were dominant out of the bullpen.
With the game still in doubt entering the seventh inning at 3-2, the Lady Mocs offense finally exploded with four runs to break the game open. With the bases loaded, sophomore Michelle Fuzzard notched a single up the middle to bring home Lyndsey Stiles and Tia Blosser. Sophomore Tiffany Baker continued the streak by doubling to left center field plating Della Harrison and Kaiti Kelley.
In the bottom half of the inning, Georgia Southern attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh loading the bases before the Lady Mocs could record an out. Irwin would settle down though, as she got two Eagles to ground into fielder’s choices before getting Robyn Siliga to line out to clinch the title.
With the win, Chattanooga will now wait until tomorrow to learn where it will be heading for the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The 64-team bracket will be announced at 10 p.m. on ESPNU. The Lady Mocs will be holding a selection party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Downtown Chattanooga beginning at 9 p.m. All fans are invited to attend.
For the tournament, four Lady Mocs were named to the 2009 All-Tournament Team. Kandice Irwin, Michelle Fuzzard, Brooke Loudermilk and Lyndsey Stiles were all selected, while Georgia Southern pitcher Brianna Streetmon was named the championship’s Most Outstanding Player. Chattanooga led with four players honored, while Georgia Southern had three and Appalachian State, Furman and Samford had one each to round out the 10-member team.
2009 All-Tournament Team
Appalachian State Kayla Richardson
Furman Abby Robertson
Samford Jessica Owens
Georgia Southern Jenny Side
Georgia Southern Robyne Siliga
Georgia Southern Brianna Streetmon (Most Outstanding Player)
Chattanooga Brooke Loudermilk
Chattanooga Lyndsey Stiles
Chattanooga Kandice Irwin
Chattanooga Michelle Fuzzard
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