MOBILE, AL (GoMocs.com)---The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team claimed its sixth-straight win of the season as the Mocs outpaced the Ball State Cardinals, 10-9 in their final game of the South Alabama Invitational.
UTC concluded the tournament 5-0 against Ball State, No. 22 South Alabama, Jacksonville and Sam Houston State.
“If you hit it, field it, and throw it you will be successful,” head coach Frank Reed said. “We made some mistakes today but we made up for it with hits. Overall, it was a great weekend that brought us closer as a team.”
Taking the field first, the Mocs made it a short top of the inning as they took down the Cardinals in order.
Once at bat Chattanooga wasted no time in getting on the boards. With two outs and senior Sarah Beth Roberts on first, senior Nicole Osterman slammed a home run to right center for a double RBI and an 2-0 lead for UTC in the bottom of the first inning.
Ball State's Stuedemann's walk to first to be the only Cardinal plated in the second inning. Freshman Kailey Palazzolo would hand out two consecutive strike outs while Roberts at third base connected a ground ball to first baseman Cori Jennings.
Chattanooga upheld its offensive drive with its third scored run in the bottom of the second inning. Bases loaded, freshman J.J. Hamill's reached to first on a fielder's choice running in Alyssa Taylor.
Roberts followed with a walk to first to load bases for a second time. As the lineup would have it, Osterman, who had just hit a home run, followed up at bat. The Florida native hammered out a grand slam to bring home her three teammates and extend UTC's lead to 7-0.
However, despite Chattanooga's lead, the Cardinals would control the fourth inning with six runs to come one point behind the Mocs at 6-7.
The Mocs responded with a tighten defense in the fifth inning. Jennings pitched two strike outs and only one hit. The Cardinals would end the inning with two left on base.
Looking to regain space between UTC and Ball State on the board, senior Marina Wilkerson led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to left center. Junior Sam Taylor tailed with a double to right center to earn her only RBI of the game.
With the score 8-6, a switch on the mound for Ball State would keep the Mocs's efforts unproductive for the remainder of the inning.
Heading into the sixth inning, Chattanooga made its third change out on the mound, switching in senior Taylor Deason for Jennings.
A throwing error allowed the Cardinals to register two runs, tying the game at eight and forcing the Mocs to make a fourth pitching change.
With Jennings back on the mound, UTC would push the Cardinals out of the inning but not before Ball State took its first lead, 9-8, off a walk on a loaded diamond.
Leading into bottom of the sixth, two hits and one walk would give Chattanooga a look to retake the lead but perfect pitch by Ball State's Steinback for a strike out wrapped up the inning.
Still at 9-8, the seventh inning proved to be the deciding period of the game. The Mocs stopped the Cardinal's last chance an offensive drive with three consecutive outs at third base.
At the bottom of the seventh, Chattanooga stepped up to the plate and loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. The fourth batter up, Anyssa Robles hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field to run in Roberts.
With the score tied for a second time, Palazzolo singled to left field for the 10th RBI and a game victory of 10-9.
The Mocs will look to continue their success at home as they host the annual Frost Class, Feb, 28-March 1.