Chattanooga's Offense Blasts the Lady Mocs Into the Championship Game
STATESBORO, Ga. - Chattanooga exploded for 11 runs in the last two innings and the Lady Mocs' pitching held UNCG scoreless in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers. Chattanooga advances to the championship game tomorrow with the 13-0 win over the Spartans.
Pitchers Nikki Waters and Kandice Irwin combined to hold the Spartans to three hits, as the Lady Mocs have given up only five hits in the entire tournament. Waters improved her record to 12-3 while Irwin picked up her seventh save of the year.
Chattanooga struck for a run to begin the game as Sara Poteat started the rally with a bunt single and moved to second base on a single to left field by Michelle Fuzzard. Tiffany Baker loaded the bases with a single to center and that brought up Vivian Morimoto with one out. UNCG pitcher Cory Mattson got Morimoto hit into a 6-2 fielder's choice for the second out of the inning and hold Chattanooga scoreless for the moment, but an infield hit by Kasey Tydingco eventually scored Fuzzard to give UTC the 1-0 lead. Mattson retired Della Harrison on a pop foul to the catcher to get out of the first without any more Chattanooga runs.
Chattanooga added another run in the top of the third when a UNCG error kept the inning alive for the Lady Mocs. With two outs, Baker reached first base on a dropped fly ball by Heather Robb at second base. Consecutive singles by Morimoto and Tydingco scored Baker to move the UTC's lead to 2-0. After the end of the third, UNCG brought in Raeanne Hanks from the bullpen.
After starter Waters gave up her first hit of the game to Jordan Jewett in the fifth inning, Chattanooga called on Irwin to relieve Waters. After a walk to Merkt and the Jewett single, Irwin got Toni MacReynolds to hit into a fielder's choice and Heather Robb to ground out to first in order to escape the inning and keep the Spartans off the scoreboard.
The Lady Mocs struck again in the sixth inning after a Lauren Flores a single followed by a Lyndsey Stiles double and a Poteat walk loaded the bases. Hanks' wild pitch scored Flores for Chattanooga and then Baker sent the other two runners home with a double to left center. The double forced UNCG to call in Josie Felix to relieve Hanks.
UTC scored one more in the inning when a single from Morimoto scored Layne Rainey, who pinch ran for Baker. Tydingco singled and Harrison walked to load the bases again for the Lady Mocs, but Felix got Traxler to pop out before Chattanooga could put more runs on the board.
Back-to-back singles in the seventh from Flores and Stiles followed by a walk to Poteat loaded the bases again for the Lady Mocs and brought Fuzzard to the plate. The SoCon Player of the Year singled home a run to move the lead to 7-0 and kept the bases juiced for Baker. Baker knocked in two runs with a single to center to keep the rally going for Chattanooga. After Tydingco got hit by a pitch to load the bases for the second time in the inning, Traxler hit a two-RBI single through the left side to give UTC double-digit runs with 11. Flores cleared the remaining runners with a triple to right center to finalize the Chattanooga scoring at 13.
Chattanooga (41-12) will appear in the 18th Annual Southern Conference Championship Game tomorrow a 1:30 p.m. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page. UNCG falls to 26-31 and will face the winner of the Appalachian State and College of Charleston game tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.
College of Charleston Scores Three in the Ninth to Win, 6-3
STATESBORO, Ga. - In a game that saw a 2 hour and 27 minute weather delay, College of Charleston scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning in an elimination game at the Southern Conference Softball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers to defeat Appalachian State, 6-3, and inched closer to the championship game.
College of Charleston started the seventh inning a lead-off single from Katie Forbes. After a strike out followed by a Katie Pesature walk and a Kristi Woodall single, the Cougars loaded the bases for Katie Nutaitis, who hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Forbes and advance the other runners on base. Kristy Giragosian then helped the Cougars pull away with a two-RBI single to right field.
Cougar relief pitcher Stephanie Saylors picked up the win to improve her record to 16-10. Saylor pitched 4.0 innings and only gave up one run on five hits and struck out three, including one for the final out of the game. Caitlin Wainright picked up the loss for the Mountaineers to fall to 6-7 after throwing 3.0 innings and giving up three runs on five hits and three walks. Wainright recorded seven strikeouts on the game for ASU.
Offensively, the Cougars were led by Giragosian, who went 3-for-3 with two critical RBI and one run scored. Carly Corthell also picked up three hits for Charleston as she went 3-for-5 with a RBI. For Appalachian State, Megan Rembielak went 3-for-4 with two RBI.
The third inning looked to be heading Appalachian State's way as Katie Boyd moved to second off a walk and a steal. Boyd would move to third on a wild pitch third strike to Rembielak, who reached first on the dropped out. But after Rembielak stole second, inclement weather put a halt on play for almost two and half hours.
Once the severe weather cleared the area, play resumed with Meghan Smith batting for Appalachian State with a 3-0 count. Smith took ball four on the first pitch to load the bases. It took College Charleston starter Alexa Datko another batter before she found her rhythm as she walked in the first ASU run with a free pass to Allie Cashion. Datko then settled to get out of the inning without any more damage as she got Michelle Lighton to foul out and Hannah Dow to hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice.
College of Charleston responded in the top of the fourth with a two-out rally started by a single from Kristi Woodall. Back-to-back walks to Katie Nutaitis and Kristy Giragosian loaded the bases with Cougars. Hillary Stringer then roped a single to right center to knock in two runs and give Charleston the 2-1 advantage. Corthell added to the Cougar lead with a RBI single over the third baseman's head.
With hopes to cool the Cougars' bats, Appalachian State went to the bullpen to bring in Wainright to relieve Dow. Wainright got off to a rough start as she walked the first batter she saw in Lizzy Vaughn to load the bases again for Charleston. However, the Mountaineer right-hander struck out Forbes to get out of the inning with ASU trialing, 3-1.
Appalachian State would trim the Cougar lead in the bottom of the inning by plating a run. Hayley Grabner started the Mountaineer fourth by reaching on an error, forcing Charleston to make a pitching change and bring in Saylors. After getting the first hitter to hit into a fielder's choice, Sarah Rappe put the second Mountaineer on base with an infield hit. With two outs in the inning following a Boyd strike out, Appalachian State pushed a run across with a RBI single by Rembielak. Saylors got Smith to ground out to the shortstop to end the inning with a 3-2 Charleston lead.
Appalachian State tied the game in the sixth inning when McKenzie Phillips came home to score off a Rembielak chopper that did not move more than five feet from the plate. It was Rembielak's third hit in the game and second RBI.
The Mountaineers end its season with a 26-24 record while College of Charleston improves to 36-20. The Cougars will play UNCG tomorrow in a game that will give the winner a berth to the Southern Conference Championship Game. Charleston will face the Spartans tomorrow at 11 a.m. Live stats will be available on the Southern Conference Championship page.