CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com)– The Chattanooga Mocs softball team hammered out 22 hits, displayed solid pitching while getting help from a few freshman during a two-game sweep over Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon at Frost Stadium.
The Mocs (29-9, 10-1 SoCon) defeated the Catamounts (19-25, 8-6 SoCon), 7-1, in the first game, and won the second game, 8-3. The series finale will be played on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET
Game 1: Chattanooga 7, Western Carolina 1 Freshman J.J. Hamill accounted for three of Chattanooga's nine hits, while sophomore Jesslyn Stockard recorded three of UTC's seven RBI with two singles to center field. Ultimately, the Mocs notched runs in four of the six their six innings to take game one, 7-1.
Chattanooga scored the game's first run during the bottom of the second inning as Anyssa Robles smacked a ground out to second base to drive in Nicole Osterman from third.
Taking an early 1-0 lead, the Mocs cushioned their advantage with three runs in the bottom of the third. Chattanooga dished out three-consecutive singles to load the bases and would cash in on off an overextended throw by the Catamounts as Hamill ran home from third. With Osterman and Roberts waiting on second and third, respectively, Criket Blanco singled up the middle to drive in Osterman for the second run of the inning. A second botched throw by Western Carolina would allow Blanco to advance to second and Roberts to drive in to home plate.
Leading 4-0, Jenny Garcia tacked on a fifth run for the Mocs as she singled through center field giving Blanco just enough time to round about the bases from second.
Pushing its momentum, Chattanooga collected two more runs in the bottom of the sixth as a single up the middle from Stockard and miscommunication from the Catamounts gave Osterman and Roberts enough time to drive in to home plate for a 7-0 lead.
Western Carolina avoided being shutout scoring a run in the top of the seventh inning on a double stealing move from runners on third and first. However, Cori Jennings exterminated any chances of a rally as left the last batter swinging.
Overall, Jennings fanned out three strikeouts in seven innings pitched. The freshman only gave up 4 hits while limiting free balls with zero walks against 25 batters.
Game 2: Chattanooga 8, Western Carolina 3 Not shaken by Chattanooga' s claim of the first game, Western Carolina was first to get on the board as the Catamounts took advantage of a pair of Mocs' errors to load the bases, driving in a run from a single to right field.
The Mocs responded with a three hits to collect two runs in the bottom of the first frame. J.J. Hamill sparked the offensive momentum as the freshman singled to right field. With two outs, Osterman doubled down the left line, advancing Hamill to third. The runners then moved up a base off a lose throw from Western Carolina. Criket Blanco shadowed with a single to the shortstop to bring in Osterman.
Anyssa Robles decorated the Mocs' lead with a lead-off homer over the left field wall, giving Chattanooga a 3-0 advantage.
UTC extended its lead to 6-0 with six hits for three runs in the bottom of the fourth. However, Western Carolina once again escaped a shutout as the Catamounts scored a pair of runs off RBI singles by Crystal Cyr and Heather Chastain in the top of the fifth.
Working to keep their lead, the Mocs added two more runs in the bottom sixth. Stockard recorded her fourth RBI of the day as she drove in Osterman from third with a sacrifice ground-out to second base. A wild pitch from Western Carolina's Taylor Sigmon brought in the last run for the Mocs, ultimately giving Chattanooga an 8-3 win.
Leading UTC's defense was pitching duo Taylor Deason and Kailey Palazzolo. Collectively, the two right-handers faced 31 batters, giving up only one walk and seven hits. Pitching 5.0 innings Deason walked away with the win while Palazzolo garnered her second save of the season.