Chattanooga Tops Mercer for Back-to-Back Championship Titles
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com)– The Chattanooga Mocs softball team secured its 13th Southern Conference Softball Championship title Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 win over Mercer in front of a high-spirited crowd in Frost Stadium. The title is a second consecutive title and the first time since 2011 that Chattanooga took both the regular season title and the tournament title.
Junior catcher Anyssa Robles was named the tournament's Most Outstanding player. Seniors Taylor Deason, Nicole Osterman and Robles were named to the All-Tournament team. Senior Associate Athletics Director Laura Herron was on hand to accept the team's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Garnering her 13th win of the season, Deason once again paced Chattanooga's defense. The hurler tossed a complete game, allowing just one run on four hits with three walks against six strikeouts.
Designated as the visiting team the Mocs took advantage of batting first by putting up two runs in the top of the opening frame. Lead-off hitter, Sam Taylor opened with a double to right center. Freshman J.J. Hamill followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Batting .385, Sarah Beth Roberts hit a sac fly to deep right center to plate Taylor from third.
Osterman and Criket Blanco pushed Chattanooga's momentum with a single through the left side and walk to load the bases. Maintaining her offensive performance, Robles smacked another sack fly deep to right center, scoring Hamill, putting the Mocs up, 2-0.
Chattanooga extended its lead in the third frame off of two hits and one run. Mercer's Kirsten Stevens walked Roberts to lead off the inning, while Osterman singled to right field to put two on with no outs. Mercer then made a fielder's choice to takeout Roberts at third, while Blanco reached first.
With one out, and runners on first and second, Robles once again cashed in for the Mocs as she doubled down the left field line to plate Osterman and give the Mocs a 3-0 advantage.
Mercer threatened in the top of the fourth as a two singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Bears. Third baseman Quirisa Mauga used a sac fly to center field to drive in a run and cut Chattanooga's lead to 3-1. Relentless, Deason responded with her fifth strikeout of the game to shorten the Mercer's opportunity.
The Mocs restrained the Bears for the remainder of the game giving Mercer only one more hit. With two outs and one runner on in the bottom of the seventh, Robles once again had the final play of the game as she caught a pop up solidifying Chattanooga victory.
The 3-1 triumph for the Mocs secured their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and the 10th in the program's history overall. Chattanooga will have its regional fate decided Sunday night. The NCAA selection show is set for 10 p.m., and will broadcast on ESPNU. A watch party for the selection show is scheduled for 9 p.m. Sunday at the Downtown Chattanooga Buffalo Wild Wings on Market Street.