CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Chattanooga Mocs softball team delighted fans at Frost Stadium with a couple of wins Saturday afternoon over Southern Conference foe Furman. Chattanooga was 6-2 winners in the first game, and junior pitcher Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) was the star of the second games with a 3-0 one-hitter against the Paladins.
“These wins give us a ton of momentum,” Head Coach Frank Reed said. “We had a great game offensively in the first game and the near no-hitter in the second game. We know that nothing is going to be handed to us after two wins. We know Furman doesn’t want to go back to Greenville with a loss on get-away day, but we know what we are capable of against them.”
Chattanooga 6 – Furman 2
Furman jumped on the board first with two quick innings in the first inning. With two batters reaching on two errors to lead off the game, Paladins first baseman Elise Smith doubled to center to score both base runners.
After a scoreless second, the Mocs exploded for five runs to take a 5-2 advantage. Senior Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) singled to lead off and sophomore Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) walked to put two aboard. Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) singled to shortstop to load the bases and sophomore Anyssa Robles (Lawrenceville, Tenn.) blooped a single to right to score one. In turn, Jenny Garcia lined a bases-clearing three-RBI double to right to put UTC up 4-2. The fifth run of the inning crossed the plate when Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) singled to left to bring Garcia home.
The Mocs added on their final fun of the game in the bottom of the fifth on another hit from Rieck. With Blanco on at second after a walk and groundout, the senior pulled a double to right-center to bring Blanco to the plate.
Starting pitcher Katie Henderson (Hixson, Tenn.) came away with the win, claiming her seventh victory of the season. The Hixson, Tenn., native allowed no earned runs and struck out six en route to the 6-2 topping. Furman starter Lauren Collier was handed the loss – her sixth of the season.
Chattanooga 3 – Furman 0
Chattanooga’s good fortune carried over into the second game on the back of Deason. The junior hurled seven innings of scoreless softball to record her second solo-shutout of the season after a near no-hitter.
All three of the Mocs’ runs came in the third inning after freshman Jesslyn Stockard (Ringgold, Ga.) reached base on a walk. Dutton walked with two outs on the board and Sam Taylor walked in the following at-bat to load the bases. Roberts delivered the first blow with a single to center to score pinch runner Marina Wilkerson (Hogansville, Ga.) from third. Alyssa Taylor followed up with a single to left to drive in Dutton, and Robles finished up the scoring frame with a single to right to drive home Roberts.
After allowing a runner to reach base on a walk in the third inning, Deason went on to retire the next 13 batters in the Furman lineup. The junior allowed just five base runners all evening and was successful in stranding four on base. The second base runner of the game was caught stealing second.
Deason carried her no-hitter into the seventh inning. With two outs and one runner on, Paladins’ third baseman Natalie Clemmons singled to left to break up the no-no, but the Mocs’ hurler induced a lineout on the next pitch to shut Furman down 3-0.
Chattanooga wraps up its series with the Paladins Sunday at 2 p.m. at Frost Stadium.