Greenville, S.C. (GoMocs.com)–Chattanooga SoftballHead Coach Frank Reed became the 28th coach in the nation to reach 1,000 careers wins as the Mocs defeated the Furman Paladins in consecutive 7-5 wins on Saturday in Pepsi Stadium. As the 10th winningest active coach, Reed now holds a 1,001-374 overall record and a 525-307 record at UTC.
“It doesn't feel like I've been doing this long enough to have 1,000 wins,” Reed said. “It feels like it's been just a few years and yet here we are with a 1,000 wins. There have been a lot of great players and coaches who have been a part of this and it's about them. It's about the program. It's not about me. Everybody has had a hand in building this program and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Extending to a 10-game winning streak, with an spotless record in league play, Chattanooga (27-8, 8-0 SoCon) had six players with multi-hits. Junior Anyssa Robles and Freshman J.J. Hamil both registered three-run hits and senior Sarah Beth Roberts posted a 3-for-4 outing, to power Chattanooga to a 14-hit performance.
Pacing the pen, was Kailey Palazzolo as the freshman picked up a save in game one and went the distance in game two to earn the victory and remain undefeated this season.
Game 1: Chattanooga 7, Furman 5
In the victory that marked the 1,000 career win for Reed, the Mocs lead off with a 2-0 lead as Criket Blanco homered over the right field wall in the second inning and Sarah Beth Roberts drove home off a Furman throwing error in the third inning.
Furman rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the third as the Paladins loaded the bases for a two-run single to the right field.
The Paladins took the lead in the bottom of the fourth as a hit off the third base bag and an overextended pickoff throw plated two runs.
Persistent, Chattanooga responded with a final rally of four runs in the top of the fifth inning. Sam Taylor steered the momentum of the frame with a triple to left center. With the outfielder in scoring position, Hamill blasted a sac fly to center field driving Taylor home.
Only behind Furman by one at 4-3, Roberts singled and Nicole Osterman and Blanco were hit by pitches from Furman starter Lindsey Bert to load the bases with two outs. Anyssa Robles cashed in the free bases by lining a three-run double inside the first base bag to give Chattanooga a 6-4 lead.
The Paladins looked to threaten with a hit in the bottom of the fifth, and consecutive walks in the bottom of the sixth, but Palazzolo retired the next three batters and stranded two more runners in the seventh with back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
Palazzolo allowed just one hit and fanned four batters in two innings to earn her first save of the season. Taylor Deason (11-3), who came on in relief of Jennings in the fourth inning, took the victory after allowing one run on two hits in one and 2/3 innings of work. Game 2: Chattanooga 7, Furman 5
Once again the Mocs opened with the advantage as Sarah Beth Roberts singled through the left side to drive in lead-off batter Sam Taylor in the opening frame. Taylor then doubled the lead with an RBI single in the top of the second.
Chattanooga shutdown the Paladins' offensive efforts until the bottom of the third inning as Furman's Hope Smith lined a two-run triple to the wall in right-center to even the game at 2-2.
UTC used a four-run fourth inning to break the 2-2 tie. Kailey Palazzolo and Marina Wilkerson opened the top of the frame with singles and J.J Hamill blasted a three-run homer to left field with one out in the inning to put the Mocs back in front. Chattanooga tacked on one more insurance run as Roberts doubled off of Furman starter Alex Sappington and scored on Blanco's infield single off of reliever Elise Smith to up Chattanooga's lead to 6-2.
The Mocs maintained their offensive momentum and cashed in one more run with a RBI single from Robles to left center.
Chattanooga kept Furman unproductive until consecutive walks in the bottom of the seventh gave the Paladins a look to rally. Bases loaded Furman's Bishop singled to right field to drive in two more runs, but Palazzolo got Johnson swinging to end the threat.
Palazzolo improved to 5-0 in the circle after allowing five runs on eight hits in seven innings. She walked two Paladins and struck out five.
The Mocs look to sustain their success in the series finale against the Paladins at 1 p.m. on Sunday.