CLERMONT, Fla. -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team opened the 2011 season Friday with a split of its first two games at Dot Richardson's National Collegiate Invitational.
The Lady Mocs opened with a 2-1 win over Florida Atlantic before falling 6-1 against Georgia Tech.
Against Florida Atlantic, UTC took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when sophomore second baseman Sara Poteat hit a bases-loaded double down the left-field line to score UTC newcomers Vivian Morimoto and Kaiti Dutton.
Freshman Natalie Powers had a single to keep the inning alive for Poteat.
UTC senior Nikki Waters pitched five effective innings and into the sixth inning before she ran into trouble. Florida Atlantic put runners on third and second with no outs when Kandice Irwin came on for the Lady Mocs. Irwin worked around another hit and an error but allowed only one run to score and preserve the lead.
Waters finished with the win, allowing the unearned run on four hits while striking out two, and Irwin added a perfect seventh inning to earn quickly her first save of the season after leading the NCAA with 11 in 2010.
First baseman Michelle Fuzzard performed well in her first game back after missing most of 2010 with a serious knee injury. The junior first baseman went 2-for-2 with a walk in the opener.
Irwin started the second game and held the Yellow Jackets scoreless for three innings, but Georgia Tech broke the game open with three runs in the fourth and single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Irwin gave up five runs, four earned, on nine hits over five innings and took the loss. Waters pitched the final two innings, allowing one run on one hit -- a home run by Kelsi Weseman.
Fuzzard continued her good start offensively, going 1-for-3 and knocking in the Lady Mocs' run with a groundout in the sixth inning.
UTC is back in action today with games against the same two teams they faced Friday, Florida Atlanta at 1:30 and Georgia Tech at 6:30.
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