The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team ended an impressive season with an unimpressive showing at the NCAA regional hosted by Auburn University.
The Mocs lost twice by sizable margins to teams they had beat during the season, finishing Saturday with an 8-2 loss to Tennessee Tech. It was the 10th regional appearance for UTC.
"This is not indicative of our team," UTC coach Frank Reed said in a school release. "We have 35 wins and 15 losses. We won a conference tournament championship. We were in the top-40 RPI. Sometimes you get in a funk and you just don't know really how to get out of it."
Tennessee Tech (33-27) got 12 hits to five for the Mocs. From a 1-0 lead in the first half-inning, the Golden Eagles went up 3-1 in the third and 6-1 in the fourth, which included singles by Olivia Bennett, Bayli Cruse and Cortney Fry, walks for Kelly Kennedy and Madison Taylor and a sacrifice fly by Angi Sakamoto.
Cruse and Sakamoto each homered, going 3-for-4 and 2-for-3 with two RBIs apiece, and Fry also was 3-for-4. UTC's five hits were by Sam Taylor, J.J. Hamill, Sarah Beth Roberts, Anyssa Robles and Kailey Palazzolo, Roberts and Criket Blanco recording the RBIs.
* At the regional in Knoxville, host Tennessee followed a 2-0 win Friday against Longwood with a five-inning 9-1 defeat of Utah on Saturday and faces the Utes again today for the championship.
Tory Lewis from Girls Preparatory School was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Shaliyah Geathers from East Hamilton also had a hit for the Lady Vols (44-14) on Friday, when Erin Gabriel pitched a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts. Saturday, Geathers was 3-for-3 and scored two runs and Lewis was 1-for-2 with a run, and Rainey Gaffin and Cheyanne Tarango combined on a three-hitter.
* At the NJCAA nationals at St. George, Utah, Chattanooga State finished third for the second year in a row. After winning four losers-bracket games from Thursday night through Friday night (and five games for the tourney), the Lady Tigers (50-13) fell 10-1 in Saturday's first game to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, which then lost 7-2 to Chipola in the final.
"We just ran out of gas today. The losers bracket yesterday killed us," Chattanooga State coach Blythe Golden said. "But I'm very proud of our fight. We hit the ball all tournament."
The Lady Tigers had 12 homers in their seven games, giving them 85 for the season.