It wasn't exactly pretty, and it certainly wasn't quick, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team managed to grind out a 13-9 win over UNC Greensboro on Sunday to win two out of three games in the Southern Conference weekend series.
The Lady Mocs and Spartans combined for 26 hits, seven errors and six wild pitches in a back-and-forth game that lasted more than three hours on a beautiful day at Jim Frost Stadium at Warner Park. Only nine of UTC and UNCG's 22 combined runs were earned runs.
"We played a very good hitting team," said third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. "We had to pull together and get as many hits as they did and do a little bit more than they did. We were able to stick together as a team and pull it out."
Errors by Roberts and catcher Anyssa Robles led to UNCG scoring twice in the top of the first inning, but the Lady Mocs (26-21, 10-8) answered with seven runs in the bottom of the inning on five hits. Freshmen Robles, Sam Taylor and Anyssa Taylor each had two-run hits in the inning.
"I had a whole week off, and I've been working really hard at the indoor hitting facility," said Alyssa Taylor, who finished the day 4-for-4 at the plate. "Today when I came out warmed up to come out here I felt really good and ready to go."
However, the Spartans (33-13, 10-7) responded with seven runs over the next two innings and led 9-0 in the fourth inning, when redshirt freshman Jenny Garcia hit a home run to left center field to tie the game.
After giving up three unearned runs in the third, relief pitcher Kaisey Carson shut out UNCG for the next four innings to allow the offense a chance to recapture the lead.
UTC took the lead for good in the fifth with three runs, with Roberts two-run double with two outs giving the Lady Mocs a bit of breathing room.
I'm really proud that when they scored those two runs early, we didn't get down," Alyssa Taylor said. "And even when they came back on us and took the lead, we didn't get down. We just knew we were going to win this thing."
In addition to Alyssa Taylor's four-hit day, Sam Taylor went 3-for-4 with three RBIs while Roberts and Garcia each had two hits, giving UTC coach Frank Reed some positives heading into the season's final home series this weekend against Samford.
"I saw a lot of bright spots today," Reed said. "We got 15 hits, so that's a bright spot, and we never gave up even when we gave up the first two runs.
"We did have four errors, but we bounced back from those errors, and we scored in every inning but one. There's positive things that we can build off of."
Contact Jim Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6478.