Anyssa Robles had the best view of an outstanding pitching performance Saturday at Jim Frost Stadium.
The freshman catcher for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team was behind the plate as sophomore Taylor Deason pitched eight scoreless innings and picked up a win and a save in the Lady Mocs' doubleheader sweep of Southern Conference opponent Georgia Southern.
UTC won 6-5 and 3-0.
"Her dropball was working really well," Robles said of Deason's performance. "They were swinging and missing, and the umpire was giving us those calls.
"She pitched a great game, and we were playing good defense behind her."
Deason pitched the final inning of the first game, striking out all three batters she faced to save the win for starter Rachel Albritton, and threw a four-hit shutout with six strikeouts in the second game.
After Georgia Southern (18-22, 5-5) took a 2-0 lead in the day's first at-bat, UTC (23-16, 8-3) scored single runs in each of the next six innings. The Lady Mocs knocked GSU ace Sarah Purvis out of the game two baserunners into the second inning.
"Going in we had a game plan against Purvis," said junior outfielder Kaiti Dutton, who scored twice and knocked in the go-ahead run in the third inning. "We talked about it all week, and when she got taken out in the second inning everyone was really pumped because she was our problem last year."
UTC coach Frank Reed was happy with his team's consistent scoring.
"There were a couple of innings where I thought we could have blown it open," he said. "But I never feel discouraged when we come away from an inning when we've actually scored."
In the second game, UTC took the lead in the first on a run by senior second baseman Sara Poteat and manufactured two more runs in the third on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Kasey Tydingco and an RBI hit by outfielder Stephanie Rieck.
"Everyone is starting to realize that we don't have to hit a home run to win games," Dutton said. "We can put the ball in play. It was a struggle at first, but now we're just starting to go with the flow."
Robles and Rieck each had two hits in the second game, and Poteat scored two runs.
UTC will try to get the three-game sweep today, and Dutton said that getting another win over the defending SoCon champions would be a big statement for the young UTC team trying to return to the top of the league.
"Tomorrow is so important, but we're going to try to make sure than no one is tense," she said. "Our team works the best when we're all loose and focusing on doing the little things we need to do."
Reed said he's not worried about his team being too pumped up for today's game, and he even thinks it could help the Lady Mocs, who have been up and down throughout the 2013 season.
"With this team, I think being up like that is a good thing," he said. "I don't think there's anything bad that can happen when this team comes out trying to be more aggressive."
Contact Jim Tanner at email@example.com or 423-757-6478.
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 ...