MOBILE, Ala. — Offense was the order of the day for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team Friday as the Lady Mocs had 24 hits in two wins in the opening day of the South Alabama Mardi Gras Tournament.
UTC opened with a 11-7 win over Ohio State, which began the season last week ranked in the Top 25 in the two major college softball polls, and later beat Evansville 11-3.
Against Ohio State, UTC rallied from an early 2-0 deficit with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning before erupting with a five-run second highlighted by a grand slam by sophomore first baseman Kasey Tydingco.
UTC added four runs in the fourth inning with a two-run single by Lauren Flores and RBIs from Della Harrison and freshman catcher Natalie Powers.
Junior pitcher Michelle Fuzzard got the start against the Buckeyes and pitched four innings to earn the win. After a shaky first inning she was in command until the top of the fifth, when Ohio State scored four runs. Kandice Irwin came on in relief and pitched the final three innings, allowing three hits and an unearned run to earn her third save of the season.
Flores went 2-for-2 against the Buckeyes, and Tydingco was 2-for-4.
Against Evansville, the Lady Mocs trailed 3-2 after three innings as starter Nikki Waters struggled over 2 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits.
UTC's offense took over from there, scoring nine runs in the final three innings, highlighted by two home runs by Harrison and a two-run blast by senior third baseman Tiffany Baker.
Irwin again came on with a strong relief performance, allowing no runs over the final 3 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts to earn her first win of the season.
Harrison, primarily a pinch runner and pinch hitter in previous seasons, started both games in right field Friday and rewarded coach Frank Reed's decision by going 3-for-6 with five RBIs on the day. Baker was 5-for-8 at the plate with three RBIs for the Lady Mocs.
Senior center fielder Lyndsey Stiles scored four runs and went 2-for-4 against Evansville.
UTC (4-3) will be back in action today with games against tournament host South Alabama and UT-Martin before wrapping up with a road trip against Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday.
Lady Flames win two
At Montgomery, Ala., Lee University edged Faulkner 2-1 and beat Spring Hill 16-2 with 19 hits in five innings in the first day of Faulkner's softball tournament.
Brittany Balough pitched a five-hitter with only an unearned run allowed and Danielle Balough hit a two-run home run for the Lady Flames (4-0) in the first game. Caitlin Beshears was the winning pitcher against Spring Hill, when Hernanza Ruiz and Danielle Balough each was 3-for-4 with a homer, Ruiz driving in five runs and scoring two and Balough plating four and scoring three.
The elder Balough has five homers in Lee's four games.
At Dayton in Bryan's tournament at Delaware Park, the host Lady Lions fell to 0-11 in their first season by losing 6-1 to Cumberland, 4-0 to Mid-Continent and 8-2 to Trevecca Nazarene. Brooklyn Johnson was 6-for-9 with a double and a run scored for Bryan.
Flames take two
Shay Crawford pitched a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts and no walks and James Rechenbach followed with a five-inning six-hitter as Lee University beat Illinois Tech 8-0 and 11-1 in baseball Friday in Cleveland. Rechenbach is 3-0 and Crawford is 2-0 for the 7-3 Flames.
Chris Grayson was 2-for-3 with two home runs and five RBIs in the second game after going 2-for-4 with an RBI and three stolen bases in the opener. Also in the first game, Seth Walker was 3-for-3 with a homer and three runs scored, and Max Harvell and Michael Brown matched Grayson's two hits for Lee. Logan Bowers was 2-for-3 with two steals and three runs in game two, when Angelo Lombardon was 1-for-1 with three RBIs.
n Tennessee Temple 12, Berea 7: At Red Bank High School in the Tennessee Valley Invitational, the Crusaders (3-10) banged out 16 hits as Wes Kenon improved his pitching record to 2-0. Taylor Bryant, Tyler Cross, Chris Duncan and Luke Grow led the offense.
In earlier games, Rio Grande beat Emmanuel 8-0 and Emmanuel edged Berea 6-5.