Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year Celie Hudson fired her 18th complete game of the season to help lead the No. 3 seeded Chattanooga Mocs softball team to a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Western Carolina on a rainy Thursday afternoon inside Jim Frost Stadium.
Following the win, Chattanooga (35-14) advances to face No. 1 UNCG tomorrow in the winner's bracket semi-final round. The original game time is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Celie Hudson made her 23rd start of the season for UTC in the circle and her third start against Western Carolina. She entered 2-0 with a save and a 0.00 ERA in 14.2 innings against the Catamounts in 2019.
Hudson allowed a pair of hits in the opening frame before setting the opposition down in order in the second. The junior needed just seven pitches in the second after racking up her total during the long first to even things out.
Chattanooga's offense struck for two runs in the home half of the second after three singles and a walk created the rally. Amanda Beltran drew a one-out walk before back-to-back singles from Devan Brown and Katie Corum loaded the bases.
Following a strikeout, SoCon Freshman of the Year Emily Coltharp laced a two-RBI single up the middle on a full count to put UTC ahead 2-0. The two runs would eventual hold to be enough for Hudson the rest of the way.
WCU answered with a run in the top of the third on a solo homerun to left off the bat of Madison Armstrong, pulling the Catamounts within one at 2-1.
Western Carolina threatened to tie things up in the top of the fourth after Erica Hayes ripped a lead-off triple down the line in right. Hudson buckled down and induced a pair of soft pop outs and a groundout to leave the runner stranded, protecting the one-run lead.
She would work through the fifth and sixth innings in just 18 pitches before escaping minor trouble in the seventh to clinch UTC's advancement in the SoCon Championships. Hudson (14-9) went the distance and allowed just six hits and one earned run while striking out four and walking one.
Chattanooga registered five hits, all singles, during the victory. The five hits mark the least since four at ETSU on April 27 and the second fewest since three at Mercer on April 13.