The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team's most disappointing season in decades came to an end Thursday with a 5-3 loss to College of Charleston at the Southern Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
A traditional power in the SoCon, UTC ended its season at 26-28 and on a seven-game losing streak, including a forfeit capping a doubleheader defeat at Alabama-Birmingham. This is only the Lady Mocs' second losing season. The only other one was 15-25 in the program's first year of existence under coach Robert Westling.
The disappointment spilled off the field as well, with both four-year seniors leaving the team and coach Frank Reed serving an NCAA-mandated suspension following the forfeit. Senior second baseman Sara Poteat did return to the team at Greensboro and went hitless in one plate appearance Thursday against the Cougars.
UTC took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Alyssa Taylor singled and scored on a hit by Amanda Ross.
The Cougars tied the game in top of the third, but UTC reclaimed the advantage in the bottom of the inning when third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts singled to bring home freshman outfielder Sam Taylor.
From there, Charleston scored four runs to build a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh inning. The Lady Mocs managed to grind out another run by Sam Taylor, who walked, advanced to third on a double by freshman catcher Anyssa Robles and scored on a groundout by Roberts. But Alyssa Taylor grounded out to end the game and the season for UTC.
Sophomore pitcher Taylor Deason gave up four runs, three earned, on nine hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss and end her second collegiate season with a record of 16-12 and 3.46 ERA.
UTC's freshmen gave the coaching staff reason for optimism heading into 2014 with a solid day at the plate. Seven of the team's 10 hits Thursday came from first-year Lady Mocs. Alyssa Taylor was 3-for-4 and Robles and sophomore Roberts each had two hits to go with the two runs from Gordon Lee graduate Sam Taylor.