Regular Season Title on the line for UTC Softballers
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com)– After a non-conference win against Middle Tennessee State earlier this week, the Chattanooga Mocs softball team (31-11, 11-3 SoCon) will close the regular season this weekend against the Samford Bulldogs.
With the Mocs falling to Mercer last weekend, Chattanooga, Samford, Mercer and Furman all have a chance to win at least a share of the SoCon regular season title.
While these four teams are fighting to lock down a good seed for the conference tournament, Chattanooga will need two victories to clinch the 2015 Southern Conference regular season title completely. The series opener is at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, followed by a double header on Sunday, set to begin at 1 p.m.
Standing in third place, Samford is 9-6 in the league and 30-19 overall. The Bulldogs have six batters hitting .300 or higher. Megan Dowdy leads the team with a .449 average while also leading the team with 79 hits and 35 runs. Shelby Maze follows in at .354 and tops the squad with 14 bases stolen out of 15 attempts. Abby Sweeney registers a .351 and has recorded a team-best 11 homeruns. Caitlin Bice, Caroline Wilder and Callie Brister round out the sextet at .333, .312 and .310, respectively.
Pacing the defense for the Bulldogs is Mollie Hanson. With a 3.46 ERA, the junior stands at 17-9 with 33 appearances, 24 starts, 15 complete games and two saves. Pitching 157.2 innings, Hanson has fanned out 104 strikeouts while giving up 170 hits, 27 walks and 15 homeruns.
Last season, Samford claimed the series over Chattanooga, but fell to the Mocs in a pitch for pitch 1-0 loss in the SoCon Tournament semifinals.
Coming into a decisive weekend, the Mocs will need an all-around team effort to finish out on top. Chattanooga only brings four batters hitting over a .300 to the last SoCon series of the regular season. Sarah Beth Roberts continues to top the team with a .403 average, while she is tied for first with 35 runs and 48 hits. Criket Blanco follows at .381 with the second highest RBI at 28. Sam Taylor stands at .331, leading the squad with 14 doubles. Averaging .324, Nicole Osterman leads the Mocs with 12 homeruns.
With both teams having strong line ups, the games will come down to pitching. Chattanooga leads the SoCon with a 2.64 ERA. Taylor Deason holds a team-best 2.22 ERA and 12-4 record. The senior has thrown 99 strikeouts in 113.1 innings pitched. Left hander, Cori Jennings is second on the team at 2.67. The freshman has pitched 112.2 innings with 72 strikeouts and three shutouts.
Live stats and streaming for the series will be available at GoMocs.com.
Senior Weekend Chattanooga will be honoring nine seniors after the coaches' meeting at the plate at Saturday's 7 p.m. game.