The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team opened the 2014 season with a pair of losses Friday on the opening day of the UCF Knights Invitational in Orlando, Fla.
UTC began with a five-inning 12-3 loss to Fordham but had a stronger performance in a 5-4 loss to South Dakota in eight innings.
Fordham scored four first-inning runs to put the Lady Mocs in an early hole, but UTC cut the deficit to 4-3 with two runs in the top of the second and another run in the third. Any hopes for a comeback win were dashed, however, as Fordham scored eight runs on four hits and four errors in the bottom of the third to put the game out of reach.
Kentucky transfer Katie Henderson took the loss, allowing three runs, but only one was earned. Junior Taylor Deason allowed nine unearned runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief, and UTC committed five errors in the five-inning game.
Offensively, sophomore catcher Anyssa Robles led the Lady Mocs by going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Newly acquired Georgia transfer Cricket Blanco had a hit and scored twice.
In Friday's second game, UTC grabbed an early 3-0 lead with Blanco hitting a two-run single to score Alyssa Taylor and Sam Taylor, but South Dakota scored a run in the top of the third and two in the fourth inning to tie the game.
The Lady Mocs reclaimed the lead on another RBI single by Blanco in the fourth inning, but South Dakota completed the rally with single runs in the fifth and eighth innings.
Freshman Liana Rodrigues, who played prep ball at Arts & Sciences, started and allowed three runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings with five strikeouts. Deason took the loss after giving up two unearned runs in 4 2/3 innings as the UTC defense again struggled with four errors.
UTC will be back in action today with two more games in Orlando. The Lady Mocs will face Long Island University-Brooklyn at 9 a.m. and will take on host Central Florida at 1:30 p.m.
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