CHATTANOOGA (UTC/WRCB) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team used three game-changing defensive plays to secure a 4-1 non-conference win over Marshall at Frost Stadium on Wednesday.
Outfielder Layne Rainey made two fantastic plays, starting with a diving catch in shallow left to ensure a run did not score in the top of the sixth. Marshall then put two runners aboard in the seventh, but Rainey rangedd into the gap in left center to snag the game-clinching out saved extra bases to end the game with two runners in scoring position by ranging to the gap in left center.
Another phenomenal catch was made by senior shortstop Jessica Traxler (Chino Hills, Calif.) with a diving snag down the left field line in foul territory.
"We can probably name Layne [Rainey] the player of the game. She made those catches appear a lot easier than they actually were by using her speed," said head coach Frank Reed.." We are playing good softball with good pitching, clutch hitting with runners on base and playing strong defense.
"The key was to jump out to an early lead. Even though they tied it, we had the big fifth inning and were able to hold on, which is key in winning ball games. I was really proud of our pitchers and made some really good defensive plays."
Senior pitcher Michelle Fuzzard provided the offense by driving in three runs on a solo homer and bases loaded single. She also started in the circle and kept the Thundering Herd at bay for four innings, giving up just one unearned runs and three hits while striking out four.
Taylor Deason relieved her in the fifth to close out the game and her 13th victory on the season. She fanned four while improving to 13-7 overall on the year.
Marshall (20-14) out-hit Chattanooga 7-to-6, but the Lady mocs came through when they needed to the most.
Fuzzard's third-inning solo homer opened the scoring, but Marshall got the run back on UTC's bases-loaded error in the fourth.
Chattanooga responded with three runs in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk by Cheyenne Willis and Fuzzard's two-run single.
The game was the opening contest of a ten-game homestand for the Lady Mocs (20-13). UTC returns to Frost Stadium on Friday for a doubleheader against Elon beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Chattanooga plays the Phoenix in the finale of the series on Saturday with a 1 p.m., first pitch.
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.