Saturday was a day of personal milestones for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball coach Frank Reed. UTC swept a Southern Conference doubleheader with Western Carolina to give Reed his 900th and 901st collegiate victories.
The Lady Mocs beat the Catamounts 4-1 and then 10-2 in five innings.
Reed — who got the wins in 21 seasons at Chattanooga State and UTC — said he was glad to be able to get his 900th win at Jim Frost Stadium.
“It’s great to do it at home,” he said. “The fans have been so good to us and so good to me and the program, so it’s always great to come home to make that happen.
“The bad thing is that you have to get old to get there. If you start counting it up, you can start figure out how many years I’ve been doing this.”
UTC (26-13, 10-2) scored two runs in the day’s first inning on a double by catcher Vivian Morimoto. Shortstop Jessica Traxler and right fielder Stephanie Rieck also had RBIs in game one.
“I felt like I’ve been hitting really good off Coach Lindsey [Ubrun] in the indoor facility,” said Rieck, who went 3-for-4 in the first game and hit a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning of the second game to wrap up the run-rule victory. “I’ve just been working on extending through the ball and making sure I saw it.”
“I defintely think I get a lot more [pitches to hit] at the No. 2 spot [in the batting order] rather than further down the lineup.”
Taylor Deason was the winning pitcher in the opener, allowing seven hits with five strikeouts.
Third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts was 5-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs for the day, and both she and Rieck tied career-best single-game performances with three hits and two RBIs.
“I felt more comfortable coming into today, and just more relaxed at the plate,” Roberts said. “I need to just keep on staying relaxed at the plate and know that I can do it and keep my hands on top of the ball.”
Western Carolina (16-28, 3-11) took an early lead in the second game when center fielder Erin Foster homered off Michelle Fuzzard, but the Lady Mocs responded with a run in the first, two runs in the second and three in the third to take control.
Fuzzard allowed seven hits, no walks and the two runs. Fuzzard contributed with her bat has well, hitting a home run to right-center field in the fourth inning. Layne Rainey and Ninjja Suetsugu each had two hits to go with Roberts’ three.
Suetsugu, who had her first career multihit game at UTC on Saturday, is filling in for injured second baseman Sara Poteat, and the junior college transfer said the increased playing time his helping her get her hitting on track after a slow start to the season.
“It was really sad what happened with Sara, but I’m happy because at the beginning I wasn’t hitting all,” she said. “I’m still struggling a little bit, but little by little I hope I can hit like I used to hit and the way Coach Reed first saw me play.”
While the wins were important in the SoCon title race, Rieck said she’s also honored to be a part of Reed’s latest milestone.
“I think its awesome to be on the team that he gets his 900th win,” she said. “It’s pretty cool that he’s been around this sport so long, and we know that he knows how to win.”
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 ...