Katie Henderson and Sarah Beth Roberts wasted little time showing why they were named to the All-Southern conference softball team on Wednesday.
Roberts gave the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga an early boost with a first-inning, leadoff home run, and Henderson had a career day in the pitching circle as the No. 2-seeded Lady Mocs beat Appalachian State 3-0 in the opening game of the SoCon tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
Henderson struck out a career best 15 to tie the SoCon tournament record and pick up the complete-game victory. She allowed six hits and no walks to keep UTC in the winners bracket of the double elimination tournament.
Henderson's big day was needed on a quiet day for the UTC offense which managed only five hits over six innings, but Roberts first-inning blast proved to be all the offense Henderson would need.
"It was important for us to win the first game of the tournament," UTC coach Frank Reed said in a released statement. "Katie pitched an amazing game and the offense was aggressive to begin the game. I would like to see a little more aggression at the plate, but I am overall please by our performance."
After Roberts home run, Appalachian State held UTC scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning when Sam Taylor hit a one-out single, advanced on a groundout by Roberts and scored on a single by Alyssa Taylor. Kaiti Dutton's RBI single in the sixth scored Nicole Osterman with another insurance run.
UTC will be back in action today at 2 p.m. against Furman, which edged Western Carolina 4-3 on Wednesday.
In other action at the SoCon softball tournament Samford beat Elon 3-0, and No. 1 seed Georgia Southern shut out Elon 4-0, with GSU pitcher Sarah Purvis throwing a no-hitter.
Former Soddy-Daisy standout Kelsey Nunley pitched nine tough innings to help the Wildcats claim a 4-3 win over Mississippi State in extra innings on the opening day of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Columbia, S.C.
Nunley allowed three runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts, with all the Bulldogs runs coming in the sixth inning. But she held MSU scoreless in extra innings until third baseman Nikki Sagermann's walk-off RBI single scored Ansley Smith with the winning run.
The seventh-seeded Wildcats advance No. 2 seed Tennessee today at 1:30 p.m.