BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team shook off a slow start Sunday before wrapping up an eye-popping offensive weekend Sunday with a 15-5 win over Samford to close out a three-game Southern Conference series sweep.
UTC (31-14, 14-2 SoCon) outscored Samford 38-5 over the weekend, and got a bit of help in its chase for a sixth consecutive regular season league championship. Appalachian State beat Georgia Southern 3-2 on Sunday to allow the Lady Mocs to pull even with GSU in the loss column with two weekends remaining in the season.
Samford (11-34, 4-14) struck first Sunday, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning against starter Michelle Fuzzard.
UTC got two runs in the second and trailed 5-2 heading to the third inning when the offense awoke. The Lady Mocs scored 10 runs in the third on eight hits, highlighted by shortstop Jessica Traxler's three-run home run.
Offense was once again the name of the game for UTC on Sunday as they went 15-for-27 at the plate as a team.
The Lady Mocs entered last week with the fifth-best batting average in NCAA Division I softball, and after batting .494 over the weekend, they have boosted their team average 12 points in a week to .352, which is likely to push them even higher in the national rankings.
Fuzzard also homered in the win -- her 10th of the season -- and she and Traxler each had four RBIs. Stephanie Rieck continued her good work at the plate since moving up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, going 3-for-4 with a pair or RBIs.
Freshman Taylor Deason picked up her 18th pitching win of the season in relief with 3 2/3 innings of perfection, allowing no hits or walks while striking out seven.
UTC returns to Jim Frost Stadium this weekend for its final home games of the year with a weekend series against Furman, starting with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on 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 ...