CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – No. 3 Chattanooga exploded for nine runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 10-1 win in five innings against top-seed UNCG in the SoCon Softball Championship title game, claiming the program’s conference-high 14th championship and first since 2015.
The nine-run margin of victory was the most in a championship game since Chattanooga beat College of Charleston 11-2 in six innings in 2011.
Chattanooga came out firing to begin the game, plating nine runs in the top of the first. The Mocs did so by amassing just five hits, while UNCG committed two errors in the span. The Mocs’ leadoff batter, freshman Emily Coltharp, led off the game with a single to shortstop and Hayleigh Weissenbach followed with a single up the middle before Aly Walker reached on an error to load the bases. Emma Sturdivant reached on an error that allowed Coltharp and Weissenbach to score, putting the Mocs ahead 2-0.
Halie Williamson singled up the middle to load the bases and Amanda Beltran belted a grand slam to right center field to stretch the lead to 6-0. Cameren Swafford walked, advanced on a sac bunt by Devan Brown and Alyssa Coppinger and Coltharp each walked before Swafford came around to score on a ground out by Weissenbach, making it 7-0.
With Coppinger on third and Coltharp on second, Walker drove the pair home on a single to right field, capping the nine-run affair. In total, nine runs were scored on just 26 pitches.
In the top of the second, Williamson hit a solo home run down the left field line to stretch the lead to double digits.
UNCG got on the board in the bottom of the second as Makenna Matthijs doubled down the left field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Monica Pepe singled her in.
After a one-hour lightning delay halted the game in the top of the fourth, the teams resumed and quickly moved through the fourth and fifth innings, sealing the victory as Gabi Howard grounded out to first baseman Emma Sturdivant, who stepped on the bag for the out.
Coltharp (2-for-3) and Williamson (2-for-3) led the Mocs at the plate, while Pepe was 2-for-2 to lead UNCG.
Alison Swinford got the complete-game, three-hit win. Bryden pitched five innings in relief and limited Chattanooga to two hits.
The Spartans placed a conference-high four on the All-Tournament team, including Bryden, who was tabbed as the Most Outstanding Player. She was joined by teammates Cumbie, Darges, and Sholtes while Chattanooga placed Hudson and Walker.
UNCG’s season comes to an end with a 33-23 record.
Chattanooga will find out its NCAA tournament destination on Sunday at 9 p.m. (ET). The selection show will be broadcast on ESPN2.
Top 1st – Chattanooga 2, UNCG 0: Emily Coltharp and Hayleigh Weissenbach singled before Aly Walker reached on an error to load the bases. Emma Sturdivant also reached on an error and Coltharp and Weissenbach came around to score.
Chattanooga 6, UNCG 0: Halie Williamson singled up the middle to load the bases and Amanda Beltran belted a grand slam to right center field.
Chattanooga 7, UNCG 0: Cameren Swafford walked, advanced on a sac bunt by Devan Brown and Alyssa Coppinger and Coltharp walked before Swafford came around to score on a groundout by Weissenbach.
Chattanooga 9, UNCG 0: With Coppinger on third and Coltharp on second, Walker drove the pair home on a single to right field.
Bottom 2nd – Chattanooga 10, UNCG 1: Makenna Matthijs doubled down the left field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Monica Pepe singled her in.
Taylor Wright, ETSU, Sr., INF
Danielle Castleberry, Mercer, R-So., 2B
Micayla Rood, Mercer, So., OF
Stephanie Bryden, UNCG, Sr., P
Delaney Cumbie, UNCG, Fr., C
Melanie Darges, UNCG, So., 2B
Marisa Sholtes, UNCG, R-Sr.,1B
Celie Hudson, Chattanooga, Jr., P
Aly Walker, Chattanooga, Jr., DP
Erica Hayes, Western Carolina, Jr, 2B
Most Outstanding Player
Stephanie Bryden, UNCG, Sr., P
Pinnacle Award Recipient
Morgan Kazerooni, Chattanooga, Accounting, 3.91 GPA
2019 SoCon Softball Championship
Frost Stadium ▪ Chattanooga, Tenn.
Wednesday, May 8
Game 1: No. 5 ETSU 5, No. 4 Mercer 1
Game 2: No. 7 Western Carolina 6, No. 2 Samford 4
Game 3: No. 3 Chattanooga 9, No. 6 Furman 5
Thursday, May 9
Game 4: No. 2 Samford 7, No. 6 Furman 0
Game 5: No. 1 UNCG 9, No. 5 ETSU 1
Game 6: No. 3 Chattanooga 2, No. 7 Western Carolina 1
Game 7: No. 5 ETSU 5, No. 2 Samford 2 (8 innings)
Friday, May 10
Game 8: No. 4 Mercer 7, No. 7 Western Carolina 4
Game 9: No. 3 Chattanooga 3, No. 1 UNCG 1
Game 10: No. 4 Mercer 6, No. 5 ETSU 1
Game 11: No. 1 UNCG 9, No. 4 Mercer 7
Saturday, May 11
Game 12: No. 1 UNCG 4, No. 3 Chattanooga 3
Game 13: No. 3 Chattanooga 10, No. 1 UNCG 1