BOONE, NC (UTC/WRCB) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team continued to play home run derby at the Southern Conference Tournament, blasting three more home runs en route to a 6-1 win over College of Charleston in a winner's bracket game on Thursday.
UTC advances to Friday afternoon's winner's bracket final opposite SoCon regular season champ Georgia Southern. The Eagles beat host Appalachian State, 6-0, in the other winner's bracket semifinal.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead, Michelle Fuzzard, Jessica Traxler and Sarah Beth Roberts all went deep in Chattanooga's four-run sixth-inning to put the game away. The Lady Mocs have now hit six home runs in their first two tournament games, with two of them coming from Fuzzard.
"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."
The long balls backed up another strong performance in the circle from Taylor Deason. The true freshman gave up a solo home run in the top of the sixth, but allowed just six other hits and struck out seven in the complete game effort.
Deason escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth with an inning-ending strikeout, and also emerged unscathed in the sixth after putting Cougars on the corners with just one out.
"Thankfully, I am a ground-ball pitcher," Deason said of avoiding home runs on Appalachian State's short field. "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 Lady Mocs (39-14) took a 2-0 lead in the third on sacrifice flies from Sarah Poteat and Stephanie Rieck.
Fuzzard's 15th homer of the season later offered a little breathing room with a 3-1 lead in the sixth, but UTC fully exhaled after Traxler hit a two-run shot on the front-end of back-to-back homers with Roberts.