published Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Georgia fall visitor for UTC softball


All games at Frost Stadium

Today vs. Tennessee Wesleyan 2 p.m.

Sept. 30 vs. Roane State (DH) 5 p.m.

Oct. 8 vs. Georgia* 5:45 p.m.

Oct. 9 vs. Shorter* 4 p.m.

vs. Chattanooga State 6 p.m.

Oct. 15 Blue-Gold Game 11 a.m.

* RBI Club Softball Classic

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team will feature a lot of new players as it opens its fall exhibition schedule today with a nine-inning game against Tennessee Wesleyan at 2 p.m.

The defending Southern Conference regular-season and tournament champions return 10 players from last year’s team, including SoCon player of the year Michelle Fuzzard, but there also are some holes to fill, particularly at third base, as well as in the outfield and pitching staff.

Today’s game will be the first collegiate action for freshmen Brittany Perez, Jenny Garcia, Sarah Beth Roberts, Taylor Deason and Cheyenne Willis. Junior college transfer infielder Ninjja Suetsuga also will make her first appearance for UTC.

“It’s certainly different because we lost a lot of people,” Fuzzard said after practice recently. “But I think that we have more than capable freshman and transfers, and I think we’ll still be solid.

“We’re playing a lot of games in the fall, and that will give [the freshmen] more than enough experience heading into the winter and then the spring.”

The highlight of the fall schedule for UTC will be the RBI Club Softball Classic on Oct. 8-9. In addition to games against Shorter and Chattanooga State, the Lady Mocs will host perennial SEC power Georgia.

Fuzzard said the fact the Lady Bulldogs are coming to Frost Stadium shows the respect UTC has earned in recent years.

“That’s a kudos to our program that we put out that good of a product that we have SEC schools want to come play us,” she said. “We’re a quality D-I program and these bigger schools want to come play us. It’s really awesome.”

For UTC coach Frank Reed, the fall schedule is a time to see how the team is coming together and to get newcomers some experience before the spring regular season.

“We don’t put a whole lot of emphasis on who comes in to play us, but we’ll use it as something to build on,” he said. “You know we’ve got some young kids that we need to get in and see how they’re going to play in those big-game situations.

“But I try not to play up to big in the fall. I’m more concerned about what we look like rather than who we’re playing.”

about Jim Tanner...

Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...

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