GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team opened Southern Conference play Saturday with a split to the Furman Paladins in Greenville, S.C. at Pepsi Field. The Paladins shut the Lady Mocs down 4-0 in the first game, holding UTC to six hits, while freshman Rachel Albritton (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) shined in the circle with a 6-1 victory in the second game.
Chattanooga 0 - Furman 4
The Paladins nearly struck first in the second inning on a high fly ball off the bat of second baseman Taylor Jenkins to left field. With the wind behind it, the ball was set to sail over the fence but the last-minute outstretched glove of freshman Sam Taylor (Chickamauga, Ga.) reeled in the would-be home run to end the inning.
An offensive Paladin outburst followed in the third inning on five hits and four runs. A leadoff single and stolen base from catcher Hannah Pace led off the inning and an RBI single from centerfielder Nikki Legg put Furman on the board. A two-run home run from shortstop Sieara Bishop extended the lead to 3-0 and back-to-back hits capped the third inning scoring with a fourth run scored.
The Lady Mocs collected six hits over seven innings, but weren't able to string them together. Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.) doubled to lead off the game and Kasey Tydingco (Fairfield, Calif.) led off the second inning with a single. Ninjja Suetsugu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Taylor recorded two hits, but all four came in separate innings.
Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) was charged with the loss, giving up 10 hits and four earned runs over six innings. The sophomore struck out three batters and walked two while Furman starter Lauren Collier fanned three without walking a batter. The win is Collier's fifth of the season while Deason falls to 10-7.
Chattanooga 6 - Furman 1
Furman was able to get on the board first in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly to left, but Chattanooga retaliated in the top of the second for three runs on two hits and two errors.
Suetsugu singled to lead off the inning and a groundout advanced the senior to second. Poteat walked on five pitches and an error charged to Bishop off the bat of Sam Taylor allowed Suetsugu to score ffrom second. In the following at-bat, Robles singled through the left side to drive in Poteat and Roberts reached on an error by second baseman Jenkins to plate Taylor.
The Lady Mocs added a fourth run in the third inning after back-to-back walks put Suetsugu and Tydingco on first and second. Junior Kaiti Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) walked to load the bases and a fielder's choice off the bat of Alyssa Taylor (Orange, Calif.) allowed Suetsugu to score from third, pushing the Chattanooga lead to 4-1.
Poteat went on to drive in two more runs in the top of the fifth on a single to right-center. Tydingco and Suetsugu reached again, this time on a walk and hit by pitch, and a sacrifice bunt from Alyssa Taylor advanced the runners to second and third to set up Poteat's two-RBI hit.
Albritton walked away with the win, pitching seven innings and allowing just three hits to the Paladins. It's the freshman's third win of the season and her first career SoCon win.
Chattanooga and Furman meet again Sunday at 1 p.m. for the rubber match of the three-game series. Live stats are available for the game via the Lady Mocs softball schedule page and Furman Athletics.