With sophomore Katie Henderson staying hot in the circle and the offense showing signs of life, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team rolled on at the Southern Conference tournament Thursday in Greensboro, N.C.
Henderson pitched a four-hit shutout as the Lady Mocs beat Furman 6-0 to advance to today's winners-bracket semifinals. The former Silverdale Baptist standout struck out seven and allowed one walk in her six-inning performance. She has struck out 22 batters in two shutout wins in the tournament.
Junior Nicole Osterman got UTC (32-19) on the board with a one-out solo home run in the third inning, and senior Stephanie Rieck and junior Sarah Beth Roberts added two-run doubles before that at-bat was over. In the fourth inning, UTC added another run on an RBI hit by senior Kaiti Dutton.
Dutton went 3-for-4 and also scored a run, and Osterman and catcher Anyssa Robles each had two of UTC's 10 hits to go with four Paladins errors.
"I was really happy to see the offense show up as strong as it did," UTC coach Frank Reed said in a statement released by the university. "Katie pitched another great game, and we hit the ball well."
UTC will play today at 10 a.m. against Samford in the double-elimination tournament. The Bulldogs beat Western Carolina 7-3 on Thursday.
Nunley nixes Lady Vols
Former Soddy-Daisy softball player Kelsey Nunley pitched an impressive shutout for Kentucky on Thursday as the seventh-seeded Wildcats beat No. 2 seed Tennessee 2-0 at the Southeastern Conference tournament in Columbia, S.C.
Nunley allowed just five hits and a walk over seven innings against the potent Lady Vols offense, and she struck out seven batters. Her last strikeout came on a full-count changeup that froze UT second baseman Haley Tobler with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe was sharp early, but she gave up an unearned run in the fourth when pinch runner Maisie Steed came around from first to score on a groundout by Emily Jolly. In the fifth, Christian Stokes homered to boost the UK lead to 2-0, and Nunley took care of the Lady Vols batters from there.
Kentucky advances to a semifinal today at 3 p.m. against LSU, which beat Missouri 6-0 Thursday behind former Chattanooga State star Ashley Czechner's four-hit pitching.