STATESBORO, Ga. — Michelle Fuzzard and Kandice Irwin combined to throw a one-hit shutout and Della Harrison hit a two run home run as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga opened play in the Southern Conference softball tournament Wednesday with a 4-0 win over Furman.
The Lady Mocs (39-12) were held to five hits over three innings by Paladins starter Hannah Bradley, but UTC scored two runs in both the second and third innings to advance in the winners bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
Furman had earlier beating Western Carolina 5-4 in a play-in game to earn the chance to take on UTC.
Lauren Flores got UTC on the board in the second with an RBI single to score Harrison from second, and Flores scored the second run on a sacrifice fly by Fuzzard.
Harrison finished the game 2-for-2, and second baseman Sara Poteat went 2-for-4 in the win.
In the third, catcher Vivian Morimoto walked and scored when Harrison hit a 2-2 pitch over the fence in left center field to give the Lady Mocs some breathing room.
Furman stranded two runners in the bottom of the seventh when Morgan Hughey and Katie Michaels reached on errors by Poteat and shortstop Jessica Traxler, but they were stranded when Irwin struck out designated player Alex Bimonte to end the game.
Fuzzard started and allowed only a leadoff single by Furman’s Nikki Legg in the fourth inning. Irwin allowed no hits or walks over the final two innings to wrap up the win.
Sophomore first baseman Kasey Tydingco, who had been nursing a sore shoulder, started the game, but was hitless in three at bats.
Top-seeded UTC will be back in action at 3 this afternoon against No. 5 seed Elon, the defending tournament champion, which beat College of Charleston 7-5 on Wednesday.
In other tournament games Wednesday, No. 7 seed Samford upset Appalachian State 6-3, and UNC Greensboro defeated tournament host Georgia Southern 2-0 in the final game of the day.
Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...