The offense put on a show Sunday as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team crushed Elon 12-2 in five innings to win two of three in a weekend Southern Conference series.
Freshman first baseman Jesslyn Stockard's grand slam capped a seven-run third inning as the Lady Mocs (23-14, 8-3 SoCon) outhit the Phoenix 12-5 in the win.
Stockard said that it helped knowing that the entire team was having a good day at the plate.
"It's nice being able get in the box and not put a lot of pressure on your self," she said. "It's nice to just go out there and have fun and have confidence in yourself, and that's what I think that's what I did today."
"I think we're starting to have confidence in each other, and we know that we can count on each other to pick each other up when we're down. I really think that's why we've been clicking lately."
UTC added four more runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by run-scoring doubles by Anyssa Robles, Stockard and Kaiti Dutton.
Elon (19-18-1, 3-9) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Carleigh Nester, but left fielder Nicole Osterman hit a long home run in the bottom of the second inning to set up UTC's big inning in the third.
Osterman has four home runs and eight RBIs in eight games since returning to the Lady Mocs lineup after sitting the first part of the season.
"I feel pretty good, but I couldn't have done it without the support of my teammates," she said. "I'm going to keep pushing through, and hopefully it keeps going the way it's been going."
UTC coach Frank Reed said that having Osterman back in the lineup has giving the team a lift offensively.
"We're starting to click a little bit, and it helps to have Osterman back in the lineup," he said. "It gives us a person to hit in that four-hole that [Cricket] Blanco's been struggling in so she can get out of there and see the ball better in the five- or six-hole.
Taylor Deason started the game and allowed five hits and one earned run over four innings to pick up the pitching victory. She was replaced by sophomore Katie Henderson after allowing an unearned run on a hit, a walk and a fielding error by third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts. Henderson allowed no hits and struck out Elon designated hitter Emily Roper to wrap up the game and strand two Elon baserunners.
Roberts, Stockard Alyssa Taylor and senior Tyler Templet each had two hits in the win, and Reed praised Templet's play at the plate and at second base in just her seventh start of the season.
"She comes in and gets two hits today and hit that last ball really hard," he said. "She can come in and be that .275 hitter at second base and make all the plays. ... She brings a lot to the plate."
UTC travels to Birmingham next weekend for a three-game series at Samford.
Contact Jim Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 ...