The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team proved over the weekend that it can play with the Southern Conference's best team, but they still can't quite get the better of them.
The Lady Mocs and Georgia Southern battled for 13 innings -- the longest game in UTC softball history -- but Lexi Allen's two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the 13th allowed the Eagles to come away with a 6-5 win for a two-games-to-three advantage in the weekend series.
UTC sophomore pitcher Katie Henderson and GSU senior ace Sarah Purvis battled for almost the entire game. Purvis pitched the entire 13 innings for the win. Henderson took the loss despite allowing six hits in 12 2/3 innings, and the two pitchers combined for 22 strikeouts. Each pitcher stranded 12 baserunners.
UTC (27-19, 10-7 SoCon) took a quick lead in the top of the first inning when third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts led off the game with a walk, was sacrificed to second and scored on a single by second baseman Criket Blanco.
The Lady Mocs held the lead until the bottom of the fifth when Georgia Southern (32-17, 14-4) tied the game on a home run by center fielder Breanna McLendon to send the game to extra innings.
UTC had several chances to win the game in extra innings, but the Eagles answered every challenge.
In the bottom of the eighth, UTC junior Taylor Deason came in with the Lady Mocs leading 2-1, but Henderson was quickly back in the game after Deason allowed a double with nobody out by McLendon, who advanced to third on the throw. McClendon later scored on a single by Taylor Rogers. UTC also failed to hold one-run leads in the top of the 10th, 11th and 13th innings.
Finally, the Eagles got on first and third with one out and UTC up 5-4. UTC shortstop Alyssa Taylor fielded a grounder and threw out Michelle Mazur at home to get the Lady Mocs within an out of the win, but Allen followed with the walk-off double to end the game.
Henderson gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts, while Purvis picked up the win for GSU, giving up five runs (one earned) on seven hits, four walks and 11 strikeouts.
At the plate, Blanco's 2-for-6 day was the Lady Mocs' only multihit performance. Blanco knocked in three of UTC's runs, and Alyssa Taylor scored twice in the loss.
Georgia Southern was led by Rogers and McClendon who each had two hits, and Rogers and Allen had two RBIs each.
UTC is in third place in the SoCon standings behind Georgia Southern and Furman heading into the final weekend of the regular season. The Lady Mocs will host Western Carolina to wrap up regular-season play with a doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday, which will be the final home game for seniors Katie Dutton, Stephanie Rieck, Hannah Thurley and Tyler Templet.
Lady Vols maul UK
The Tennessee softball team topped Kentucky 9-2 on Saturday to win two of three in the Southeastern Conference weekend series.
The Lady Vols (39-9, 14-7 SEC) fell behind 2-0 in the first inning but rallied late with a five-run fifth inning to secure the win for pitcher Ellen Renfroe, who improved to 25-5 on the season. Renfroe held the Wildcats scoreless after their two-run first inning, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out six for the game.
Former Soddy-Daisy standout Kelsey Nunley took the loss for the Wildcats (40-11, 13-8), dropping to 20-6 on the year. Nunley gave up 10 hits and five walks with five strikouts over seven innings.
UT designated player Melissa Davins was 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs, while Megan Geer and and Taylor Koenig each had two RBIs. Second baseman Haley Tobler was 2-for-4 with three runs.
Vols baseball falls
The Tennessee baseball team stumbled late, allowing LSU to score five runs in the eighth inning of a 9-4 loss in Baton Rouge, La.
The Tigers won two of three games in the weekend series.
Drake Ownby took the loss, surrendering two earned runs on a hit and a walk in 2/3 of an inning.
Tennessee (26-16, 8-13 SEC) was led at the plate by Nick Senzel, who went 3-for-5 and scored a run, and Christin Stewart who had two hits.