BOONE, N.C. - The Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team took
control of its SoCon Tournament second round contest with three home runs in
the sixth to secure a 6-1 victory over College of Charleston on Thursday in
Boone, N.C. Senior designated player Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach,
Calif.) started the home run rally and back-to-back blasts from senior
shortstop Jessica Traxler (Chino Hills, Calif.) and freshman third baseman
Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) completed it.
"I felt like we sat on the lead too long and we needed to put some space between ourselves and Charleston," said head coach Frank Reed. "When you get that far into a game, the sixth inning, anything can happen. I felt pretty good after Fuzzard hit her home run and put us back up two. The other homers were just gravy."
Chattanooga advances to face No. 1 Georgia Southern
on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. in the winner's bracket final. Fans can follow all the
action with links to live stats, free audio and video available on the softball
schedule page of GoMocs.com.
Another stellar performance was logged by freshman Taylor Deason (Clarksville, Tenn.) in the circle as she fanned seven in the contest and gave up just one
run. The Clarksville, Tenn., native tallied her 24th victory of the season as the Lady
Mocs improved to 39-14.
"Thankfully, I am a ground-ball
pitcher," said Deason on location being a key at the tournament site. "Although I
am throwing the drop, I am working on every pitch, throwing them low and trying
to get them to fish for it. "
The offense had a late start in the game with just four hits
through five innings. Roberts paced the team with two hits as seven players
registered a base knock in the contest.
Charleston was led by Kelsey Hodgson and Allison Pedigo as
each registered two hits, while Hodgson registered her 10th home run
of the season. Taking the loss was Hope Klicker in the circle, who tossed 5.2
innings and struck out five giving up four earned runs.
In the first, the Cougars had the first scoring chance as
Ashton Jarrett hit a soft liner for a double down the left field line. The calm righty in the circle was able to register a strike out and pop up to end the inning.
Following a single up the middle by sophomore outfielder Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) with one out in the bottom-half, Charleston came
through with a double play to end the frame.
The Lady Mocs struck first in the third, taking advantage of
two Charleston errors as sophomore second baseman Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.) and Rieck tallied sacrifice flies, 2-0. Crossing the plate following singles were Roberts and sophomore outfielder Layne Rainey (Clarksville, Tenn.).
Loading the bases in the fourth were the Cougars on two
singles and a walk with one out. Deason was able to work out of the jam on a
ground out that cut down the runner at home and her fifth strikeout of the
The Cougars cut the lead to just one as Hodgson
blasted a home run to left to lead off the sixth. Charleston was able to work a situation with runners on the corners following an Amanda Lonergan double and fielding miscue with one out and appeared to have the momentum. The frame ended though on a strike out and ground out as the Lady Mocs clung to a 2-1 lead.
Chattanooga's bats woke up in the sixth inning as the team saw the hurler Klicker for the third time. Fuzzard started the home run barrage with
a round tripper down the right field line with one out. It was the 15th homer of the
season for the Huntington Beach, Calif., native.
Just missing a blast off the top of the fence in left was senior catcher Vivian Morimoto (Sao Paulo, Brazil) for her 20th double of the season. Then, Traxler and Roberts went
back-to-back for the second time this season as both homers were drilled over the fence
in left. The last time was against UAB on April 18.
"I struggled a little bit, but in my last at bat," said Traxler, "I just
focused on seeing the ball, not pulling my head out and making sure I made
Chattanooga closed the door on the Cougars in the bottom-half
of the inning as Deason coaxed two ground outs and a strikeout.