UTC softballers finally home, host Frost Classic this weekend
CHATTANOOGA, TN (GoMocs.com) – The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team (11-4) hosts the annual Frost Classic at Jim Frost Stadium Friday, Feb. 27 through Sunday, March 1.
The Mocs kick-off the home portion of their 2015 slate against Eastern Kentucky (1:30 p.m. ET) and South Dakota State (4 p.m.) on Feb. 27, while taking on No. 10 Kentucky (1:30 p.m.) and Wright State (4 p.m.) on Feb. 28. Chattanooga closes out the Classic against Ohio at 1:30 p.m. on March 1.
Chattanooga welcomes fans to come out and support the team in its first home matches of the year. Tickets for the Frost Classic are on sale and are available at GoMocs.com. All Tournament Passes are $25 for adults and $15 for youth. Single-day passes are $10 for adults and youth passes are available for $5.
“We're always looking to play great talent and its fun for the fans. It attracts them out to see good teams,” head coach Frank Reed said. “The Frost Classic is a tournament that we've been having for years, so it goes back for a while. It's a great tournament and it allows us to attract so many good teams. We're always looking for teams with high RPI's and the teams that we feel are going to give us a challenge to make us better down the road.”
EASTERN KENTUCKY SCOUTING REPORT Series: The Mocs lead the Colonels, 3-2 in the overall series. The last meeting was in the 2013 edition of the Frost Classic when Taylor Deason tossed a seven-inning, three-run gem. She allowed just six hits and fanned six batters while walking one to lead UTC to a one-run victory.
Deason found run support from the Mocs in the fourth inning after falling behind 1-0 in the third. A solo home run from EKU's Raquel Howes put the Colonels on top first but a three-run fourth gave UTC its first lead of the day. A walk issued to former Moc Sara Poteat and back-to-back singles from Sam Taylor and Anyssa Robles loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Sarah Beth Roberts brought Poteat home before a double from former Moc Kasey Tydingco cleared the bases to drive in two more runs.
Despite the two-run lead, a two-run sixth inning from Eastern Kentucky knotted the game up 3-3. Four hits allowed by Deason resulted in two runs scored before the Lady Mocs were able stop the bleeding, but a single from freshman Alyssa Taylor that drove in former Moc Stephanie Rieck proved to be the winning run.
Colonel Notables: EKU was predicted to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Colonels currently stand at 5-6, including a victory over No. 22 South Alabama.
The Colonels return seven position starters and three starting pitchers. The returning squad helped record 29 wins in the 2014 season, 15 in conference play. Pacing Eastern Kentucky's efforts this year are Paige Murphy and Kayla Joyce, who both hold a .344 slugging percentage. Together they have combined for 64 at bats, 19 hits and 10 runs.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE SCOUTING REPORT
Series: This is the first meeting between the two teams in program history.
Jackrabbit Notables: At 4-6 this season, SDSU is led by infielder Elyse Eitel and pitcher Bryana Clark. Eitel holds a team high .406 batting average with 13 hits and seven RBI. Last year, she was the only player to play in all of South Dakota State's 47 games. Clark has a 2.88 era in three games pitched. The freshman is tied for a team best 20 strike outs and has only given 9 walks.
Series: The Mocs have a 6-4 advantage over the Wildcats, in the series that dates back to 1998. The last showdown between the two teams was in 2010 when Kentucky snapped Chattanooga's nine-game winning streak, 3-1 at the Frost Classic.
The Wildcats took advantage of two mistakes from Brooke Loudermilk that ended as two homeruns that scored all three runs. Loudermilk pitched an impressive game striking out seven and gave up only five hits.
The Mocs stranded a runner in each of the first three innings proving that they could hit Kentucky pitcher Chandra Bell, who entered the game with 74 strikeouts on the season.
Wildcat Notables: Kentucky came into the 2015 season ranked sixth in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Top 25. Going 11-3 in their first three weekends of the season, the Wildcats dropped down to No. 10 in the polls this week. Kelsy Nunley was named one of 50 players named to the 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch
Nunley went 30-11in 2014 with a 1.88 ERA in 282.1 innings pitched. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., earned victories in all 10 postseason wins for Kentucky, including striking out seven batters in the Women's College World Series against Louisiana-Lafayette. This season, the junior is off to a 4-1 start with a 2.36 ERA, including 30 strikeouts and only 10 walks.
WRIGHT STATE SCOUTING REPORT
Series:This is the first meeting between the two teams in program history.
Raider Notables: WSU is off to a 0-5 start. Libby Pfeffer and Jess Gorman lead the Raiders with 4 hits apiece. Pfeffer stands at a .308 hitting percentage, 13 at bats. Gorman has 15 at bats, 2 runs and one RBI.
OHIO SCOUTING REPORT
Series: The Chattanooga Mocs and Ohio Bobcats are currently tied with a win apiece in the overall series between the two teams. Ohio claimed the first faceoff in 1995, 1-0 but UTC outplayed the Bobcasts, 5-2 in the 2014 Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic.
Keeping the Bobcats off balance, Henderson allowed just three hits past the first inning and struck out seven Ohio batters.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning, and Chattanooga trailing 2-0, Jesslyn Stockard crushed a solo-homerun to centerfield to cut the Ohio lead in half. Then with two outs, after Stockard's third round-tripper of the season, then senior Kaiti Dutton continued the rally with a triple to the right-center gap. Sam Taylor singled up the middle to tie the game at 2-2, driving in Dutton, and Alyssa Taylor went deep to right-center to put the Mocs up 4-2 on a two-run shot. The homerun was Taylor's fifth of the season.
The Mocs tacked on one insurance run in the seventh inning with Dutton doubling to center, her second hit of the afternoon. Sam Taylor then singled to move the senior to third and Alyssa Taylor popped a sac-fly to center to score the speedy outfielder.
Bobcat Notables: Ohio is currently knotted at 4 wins and 4 losses. Leading the Bobcats efforts is Savannah Dorsey. The pitcher came into the season ranked 24th in the Fastpitch News Top 50 NCAA Division I Softball Pitchers Rankings.
She wrapped 2014, ranked ninth in the country with 298 strikeouts, 25th in wins with 25 and 40th in strikeouts per seven innings with 7.8. Dorsey also only allowed opponents to hit .271 against her in her 49 appearances for the Bobcats. This season, she holds a 3.50 ERA and 16 strike outs off a 1-1 record.
Offensively, the Bobcats have five players with a batting average of .400 or higher in Sloan Walker, Kaylin Cooper, Michaela Dorsey, and Casie Hutchinson. Together, they have 96 at bats, 25 runs, 43 hits and 26 RBI.
Chattanooga is taking aim at its third longest-game winning streak in the past four years. In 2012, the Mocs recorded an 11 game winning streak followed by a five game streak in 2013, and an eight-game streak in 2014. The season, UTC is riding a six-game winning streak, including victories over No. 22 South Alabama, (3-1), Arkansas (7-3) and UAB (13-0). The Mocs look to extend their success this weekend as they play five games in the Frost Classic. UTC has finished with a winning performance in the Frost Classic every year since 2005 including sweeps in 2011 and 2014.
READY TO FROST THE COMPETITON
The Mocs head into the Frost Classic with the best opening record they have had in five years. In 2010, UTC came to the Classic with a 7-3 mark, followed by a 4-4 standing in 2012, a 4-5 performance in 2013 and a 3-6 start in 2014. Chattanooga currently holds an 11-4 record, having swept five teams at the South Alabama Invitational this past weekend.
OUTSTANDING OSTERMAN Nicole Osterman was named the SoCon Softball Player of the week as she recorded at least one hit in UTC's five games at the South Alabama Invitational for the Mocs, going 9-for-17 (.529) with four home runs, seven runs and 14 RBIs. The senior had two multi-hit games and recorded six total extra-base hits over the five games. She received the weekly honor for the first time in her career.
Osterman accounted for two of UTC's three runs against No. 22 South Alabama on Friday, going 1-for-2 with a homer, two runs and an RBI in the win. She then went 4-for-4 with a double, a home run, five RBIs and a run against Jacksonville on Saturday. The native of Kissimmee, Fla. finished the weekend with a 2-for-3 effort against Ball State with two home runs, two walks, three runs and six RBIs to propel the Mocs to a 10-9 win.
SoCon JUSTIFIES JENNINGS Cori Jennings did her part for Chattanooga, going 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched on the weekend. The freshman hurler allowed seven runs (five earned) on 18 hits with nine walks against 14 strikeouts over four appearances, garnering her SoCon Pitcher of the Week Honors.
Jennings shutdown No. 22 South Alabama on Friday, pitching a complete game and allowing just one run on seven hits and striking out five. She followed with another complete-game performance against Sam Houston State on Saturday as she allowed two runs on five hits with just one walk against six strikeouts. She earned her third victory of the weekend with 3.2 innings pitched against Ball State on Sunday.
She is the first freshman this season to receive the weekly honor.
NO EASY START For the second year in a row, Chattanooga faces off against nationally-ranked teams in its nonconference play. In 2014, the Mocs matched up against No. 10 Oregon, falling to the Ducks 4-5 in the UNLV Eastern Desert. This season, UTC has been pitted against No. 16 Auburn, No. 18 Missouri, and No. 22 South Alabama. The Mocs are 1-2 this season against nationally ranked opponents. Up next, Chattanooga will see No. 10 Kentucky in the Frost Classic on Saturday, Feb. 28.
APPLYING FOR THE MILLENNIUM CLUB A 5-0 sweep at the South Alabama Invitational has put Head Coach Frank Reed's overall career record at 985-370 and his UTC record at 509-303. He secured his 500th win at Chattanooga this season as the Mocs defeated George Washington, 4-2 and Evansville, 5-3 in the opening day of the Plainsman Invitational. The five-time SoCon Coach of the year is only 15 wins away from his 1,000th career victory.
WE ARE TENNESSEE
Chattanooga softball has featured 19 student-athletes from Tennessee on its roster in the past five years. It's a testament to the youth, club and high school softball in the state. Currently the Mocs have six Tennessee natives in Criket Blanco (Maryville, Tenn.), Courtney Ervin (Seymour, Tenn.), Katie Henderson (Chattanooga, Tenn,) Cori Jennings (Brush Creek, Tenn.), Taylor Parker (Lynnville, Tenn.) and Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.).