CULLOWHEE, N.C. (UTC) – The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team defeated Western Carolina 7-5 Friday night in the opener of a three-game Southern Conference set in Cullowhee, N.C.
There were only two innings – the third and seventh innings – neither team managed to put a run on the board. The Lady Mocs' overcame rainy conditions to post five runs in the fourth inning swing momentum in their favor.
"Western Carolina is a team that can sneak up on you," said head coach Frank Reed. "You saw that today. We built up a nice little lead and that almost wasn't enough. Now we have to stay focused and try to get two tomorrow."
Sam Taylor had two hits and drove in two runs. Sara Poteat also had a pair of hits, including an RBI double, and scored twice.
Both teams put a run on the board in the first inning as Chattanooga capitalized on a Stephanie Rieck ground out to score Poteat to lead to a 1-0 lead. The Catamounts pulled even in the bottom of the inning before Poteat's RBI double in the second put UTC ahead to stay.
Taylor Deason held the Catamounts scoreless in the third and fourth innings, striking out two over the two frames, before Chattanooga exploded for five runs in the fourth inning. The Lady Mocs scored all five runs on just two hits and an error.
Ninjja Suetsugu began the rally with a single, Tyler Templet and Alyssa Taylor reached on an error to bring in the first run. Poteat reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases and freshman Taylor delivered the big punch with a two-RBI single up the middle, leading to a 5-1 advantage.
After three runs scored in the inning, Sigmon was pulled from the mound and Jordan Garrett took over in the circle, but the reliever would prove to be wild out of the pen. The sophomore tossed two wild pitches in the inning, allowing two more Lady Mocs runners to cross the plate, stretching the Chattanooga lead to 7-1.
A two-run home run by WCU third baseman Haley Pace in the fourth inning cut the UTC lead to four runs and another run in the fifth led to a three-run advantage for the Lady Mocs. Chattanooga left the bases loaded in the sixth inning and the Catamounts were able to add on one more run in the bottom of the inning, but a scoreless seventh ended the three-hour melee between the two teams, 7-5.
Deason walked away with the complete-game-victory, going seven innings with six hits to improve to 13-7 on the season. The sophomore struck out five WCU batters while allowing just four earned runs to score.
Chattanooga wraps up the series tomorrow at Noon with a double-header.
Information provided by UTC Sports Media Relations and GoMocs.com.
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