The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team hung on early but faltered late to split a doubleheader with UAB on Wednesday, winning 9-8 before losing 6-3 at Jim Frost Stadium.
After falling behind 3-0 in the top of the day's first inning, the Lady Mocs (28-14) struck for six runs on six hits in the bottom of the inning. They extended their lead to 8-3 in the third inning on back-to-back home runs by shortstop Jessica Traxler and third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts, but UAB answered with four runs in the fifth inning and a single run in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 8.
Second baseman Ninjja Suetsugu's two-out single allowed Roberts to score with the winning run and give senior Michelle Fuzzard the pitching win with 21/3 innings in relief of starter Taylor Deason.
"We fell behind in our last game too against Western Carolina," said center fielder Cheyenne Willis, who was 2-for-4 in the first game. "We came back twice. We learned how to pull together as a team and get key hits towards the end of the game. We just know that is what we have to do and have faith in our teammates."
In the second game, UAB (28-16) used a five-run second inning to build a lead UTC couldn't overcome, snapping the Lady Mocs' 15-game home winning streak.
Designated player Vivan Morimoto had a home run and two RBIs for UTC, and Willis and Stephanie Rieck each had two hits in the loss.
UTC will hit the road this weekend for a three-game Southern Conference series at Samford starting Saturday.
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 ...