(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA — The Chattanooga Mocs softball team combined for 16 hits and nine runs during a doubleheader sweep over Southern Conference-foe Western Carolina at Jim Frost Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Chattanooga earned a 6-5 win in game one before completing the sweep with a 3-0 shutout victory in game two. UTC improved to 28-12 and 6-5 in SoCon action while WCU fell to 17-25 and 4-9 in the league.
GAME ONE » Chattanooga 6, Western Carolina 5
Freshman pitcher Mariah Ramirez earned her 14th start of the season for Chattanooga and retired WCU in order to begin the game before walking a pair in the second and escaping the jam with a strikeout and two groundouts.
Amanda Beltran started the scoring in the bottom of the second with a solo homerun over the center field fence, giving UTC an early 1-0 lead. The homerun marked her ninth of the season and 23rd of her career, moving into a tie for sixth all-time at UTC.
Ramirez protected the one-run lead with a spotless third inning before Western Carolina’s Shaina Reed tied things up, 1-1, in the top of the fourth with a solo homerun to center.
Chattanooga responded in a big way in the home half of the fourth, scoring five runs on five hits with the help of two Catamount errors to take a 6-1 lead. Aly Walker and Emma Sturdivant led the frame off with back-to-back doubles to account for the initial run of the rally.
Halie Williamson drew a walk during the next at-bat before Beltran reached on a fielding error to set up a first and second, no out, situation. Hayleigh Weissenbach added to the charge with a single to center to load the bases.
Devan Brown and Morgan Kazerooni followed with back-to-back RBI singles to bring in the second and third runs before Weissenbach scored the fourth on an error at home. Cameren Swafford capped off the rally with an RBI-sacrifice fly to right during a pinch-hit appearance.
WCU’s Bailey Honeycutt led the sixth inning off with a homerun to center to make it 6-2. Hunter Gibbons followed with a single to left, chasing Ramirez from the game and forcing UTC to call upon Allison Swinford in a relief role.
Swinford allowed a single before Erica Hayes lifted a two-run homer to center, cutting the Chattanooga lead in half at 6-4. She stayed in the circle to begin the seventh and surrendered a leadoff single and a one-out walk before Celie Hudson came on to take over the pitching duties.
Gibbons laced a one-out RBI single to left before Hudson buckled down and induced a pair of groundouts to notch her second save of the season and clinch the UTC victory, 6-5.
Ramirez improved her season pitching mark to 12-1 after being awarded the win, tossing 5.0 innings while allowing six hits and three earned runs. She added a pair of strikeouts and also walked a pair during the win.
Notable Performances: Mariah Ramirez (W, 5IP, 3ER), Amanda Beltran (1-for-3, HR, RBI), Hayleigh Weissenbach (2-for-3, R), Emma Sturdivant (1-for-3, 2B, RBI)
GAME TWO » Chattanooga 3, Western Carolina 0
Chattanooga struck for a run in the bottom of the first to build an early 1-0 lead after Emma Sturdivant laced an RBI double to the fence in left, scoring Emily Coltharp from second. Coltharp led the frame off with a double.
Celie Hudson earned the nod for the Mocs in the circle for the 16th time this season and dazzled early on. Hudson surrendered just three hits over the first four innings and struck out two to hold on to the one-run edge.
UTC added run support for Hudson in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs on three hits. Aly Walker ripped an RBI double to left center before Halie Williamson added a long RBI single to the deep gap in right center to put Chattanooga ahead 3-0.
Hudson was dominate the rest of the way to help life the Mocs to a doubleheader sweep. She didn’t allow a hit over the final three innings of play, finishing with a complete game, three-hit victory to up her record to 9-8. She struck out five while walking just one.
Chattanooga out-hit WCU, 8-3, with six different Mocs recording at least one hit during the win. Coltharp and Sturdivant each doubled while recording the team’s lone multi-hit games with two hits apiece.
Notable Performances: Celie Hudson (W, CG, 3H, 5K), Emily Coltharp (2-for-3, 2B, 2 R), Emma Sturdivant (2-for-3, 2B, RBI), Aly Walker (1-for-3, 2B, RBI)
Chattanooga and Western Carolina wrap up the series tomorrow with a single game scheduled for Noon at Jim Frost Stadium. The game will be carried LIVE on ESPN3 through ESPN.com and the ESPN App platforms.