CLERMONT, Fla.-- The Chattanooga Lady Mocs (0-2) fell 6-4 to the Fordham Rams (1-0) on a walk-off double in the first game of Dot Richardson's National Training Center Invitation in Clermont, Fla. Friday evening. UTC found no better luck in the second game of the evening, defeated 6-3 at the hands of SIU. It is the first time Chattanooga has begun a season 0-2 for the first time since suffering back-to-back losses in Clermont in 2010.
Chattanooga 5 - Fordham 6
Chattanooga was first to strike against Fordham in the first inning. Senior Kasey Tydingco (Fairfield, Calif.) roped a two-out single into centerfield and stole second base to set up the first run of the season. Freshman Anyssa Robles (Hoschton, Ga.) followed up with a single down the right field line to score the first baseman, putting the Lady Mocs ahead 1-0 early.
Starting pitcher Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.), despite two base runners, was able to work out of the first inning with no harm done. A single and error put two Rams on base with no outs, but a line-drive and quick throw to second base from sophomore third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) relieved pressure helped UTC to a scoreless defensive inning. The second inning would not go as well.
Two hits and an error led to three Fordham runs and an early end to Deason's season debut. Freshman Rachel Albritton (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) was brought on in relief of the sophomore and retired the final batter of the inning.
Chattanooga slowly began to climb back, cutting the Fordham lead to 3-2 in the third inning after senior Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.) singled and Tydingco and junior Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) reached on back-to-back fielding errors. Poteat came around to score on the Tydingco-caused error to pull Chattanooga within one run.
The Lady Mocs tied the game 3-3 in the fourth inning on a Ninjja Suetsugu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) single. The senior muscled a pitch past the pitcher to drive in Jenny Garcia (Miami, Fla.), who singled to the shortstop an at-bat earlier.
UTC took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning as Poteat led off with a double to the centerfield fence. Advancing to third on a Tydingco fly-out, Robles drove in the go-ahead run with another single to right field. Chattanooga tacked on one more insurance run in the top of the seventh on three straight hits. Another double from Poteat put a runner in scoring position to lead off the inning and a single from Rieck put runners on the corners. Tydingco singled to push the Lady Mocs lead to 5-3, but the two runs would fall through in the bottom of the seventh.
A walk, single and error contributed one run and two base runners for the Rams with just one out. Fordham shortstop Elise Fortier hit a walk-off double to the centerfield fence to hand the Lady Mocs their first loss of the season.
Chattanooga 3 - Southern Illinois 6
The Lady Mocs drew first blood again against Southern Illinois in the second matchup of the day and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Robles led off the second inning with a double and Roberts advanced the catcher to third on a single back to the pitcher. Junior Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) reached on an error by the shortstop that allowed Robles to score. UTC added two more runs on the board in the third inning on two outs. Tydingco singled up the middle and Robles found her way on base with a fielder's choice. With two on, a passed ball allowed the two to move up one base each. A muffed throw by the first baseman on a Roberts' ball in play allowed Tydingco to cross the plate and another Garcia hit scored Robles.
Leading 3-0, starting pitcher Kaisey Carson (Indianapolis, Ind.) cruised through the fourth inning but hit a bump in the fifth. The Salukis added on two runs to cut the Lady Mocs' lead to one, prompting Head Coach Frank Reed to throw Deason in the sixth inning, but Deason would not fare well.
The sophomore loaded the bases and was pulled as Albritton was brought on in relief, but the freshman was unable to stop the bleeding as Deason was charged with three runs (two earned) in the sixth. A fourth run crossed the plate (an earned run charge to Albritton), sealing the win for SIU, as the Lady Mocs went three-up-three-down in the home half of the seventh.
"It's disappointing," Reed said. "That's not the way you want to start out a season, but now we have to regroup and get ready for tomorrow's games. We can't dwell on these losses, but we need to learn from them."
Chattanooga takes on Long Island (0-2) tomorrow at 11 a.m. before facing off against the Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) at 4 p.m. Long Island dropped a 6-14 (six inning) game to Fordham and 1-9 (five inning) game to Virginia Tech. The Hokies took the 9-1 win over Long Island and played a 7 p.m. game against SIU.