The up-and-down 2013 season of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team took yet another downturn Sunday afternoon at Jim Frost Stadium.
After winning both games of a doubleheader against Georgia Southern on Saturday, the Lady Mocs (23-17, 8-4) couldn't maintain their momentum in a 7-1 loss in the final game of the three-game Southern Conference series.
"Nothing seemed to drop in," said junior outfielder Stephanie Rieck, who had two of UTC's seven hits Sunday. "Nothing seemed to go right at the point in time when we needed it to. All the girls were really trying to adjust and get balls on the ground, but it just didn't work out."
Georgia Southern (19-22, 6-5) struck quickly for two runs in the first inning and knocked out freshman starting pitcher Rachel Albritton (5-4) after recording only one out. Sophomore Taylor Deason kept things close for a while, but she faded late and allowed five runs on nine hits.
GSU shortstop Kourtny Thomas helped put the game out of reach with a long home run off the light pole in left-center field in a two-run fifth inning, and the Eagles added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
UTC coach Frank Reed was frustrated with his team's lack of fight when they had a chance to get a crucial three-game sweep.
"There's no excuses. They didn't come ready to play today," he said. "They didn't deserve to be on the same ballfield as Georgia Southern today, and that's just the bottom line.
"I can't just push a button and turn them on. I've tried everything in the world to do it, but until they figure it out they're doomed to have weekends like this."
The lone bright spot for the Lady Mocs' offense was a solo home run by freshman center fielder Sam Taylor -- her first college home run.
"That's not really my game [to hit for power], so when one of those comes along it's really nice," she said. "It was a change up and a low pitch, and I knew I needed to get up there and make something happen."
UTC will head back on the road this weekend for a three-game series at College of Charleston, and the team will need to regroup quickly to keep their goal for a SoCon title within reach.
"We kind of need to just wipe this out of our memories, and come back together as a team," Rieck said. "This is a team sport, and everyone is a part of it. So we need to get together as a team and move forward."
Contact Jim Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6478.
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 ...