GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG softball team out-hit Chattanooga 10-9 but the Mocs came away with a 4-3 victory to clinch the 2014 Southern Conference championship Saturday at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Spartans finish the season with a 31-26 record falling in the SoCon championship game for the second-straight season. UNCG finished with back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since the 2003-2004 seasons.
Senior Raeanne Hanks (Rainier, Ore./Rainier Senior), who was named to the SoCon All-Tournament team, finished another complete gem in seven innings. Hanks allowed four earned runs and added five strikeouts. She led the tournament in innings pitched. Hanks finishes the season with a 16-17 record.
Chattanooga’s Katie Henderson, who was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, started the game and earned her third save of the season throwing the final eight outs to seal the championship for the Mocs. Taylor Deason improves to 14-7 on the season earning the win in relief.
Sophomore Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and classmate Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas) was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate.
In the seventh inning, Henderson closed the game with her first 1-2-3 inning of the game to clinch the championship.
Chattanooga jumped ahead in the second inning after freshman Jesslyn Stockard hit a two-run blast to left field to make it 2-0. Criket Blanco singled to leadoff the inning and moved to third after a groundout by Kaiti Dutton. Stockard earned her sixth home run of the season.
In the bottom of the second, the Spartans loaded the bases on three singles from sophomore Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas), junior Tatiana Alcala (Oxnard, Calif./Pacifica) and Tory Wright (Potomac Falls, Va./Dominion). With one out, Henderson got a foul out and a groundout to end the threat.
Sophomore Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) blasted a solo home run in the third inning to snap Henderson’s 32-inning scoreless streak that included 20-straight in the SoCon tournament. For Thomas it was her fifth home run of the SoCon tournament, extending her own record. Senior Katelyn Bedwell (Surrey, B.C./Elgin Park) singled to right center. After an out, Vega picked up her second hit and senior Toni MacReynolds (Vienna, Va./James Madison) was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, Henderson got out of a jam again with two outs.
In the fourth inning, Chattanooga added an insurance run after Blanco scored on a fielder’s choice. Blanco doubled to start the frame and moved to third off a groundout. Stockard hit a grounder to the shortstop where the throw to the plate was low giving the Mocs a 3-1 lead.
The Mocs scored a key two out RBI single from Nicole Osterman scoring Alyssa Taylor from second to push the lead to 4-1.
The Spartans would respond with a run in the bottom of the fifth off a RBI fielder’s choice from Alcala. Sophomore Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) reached on an error to start the frame. After a walk, MacReynolds reached on a fielder’s choice moving pinch runner Emily Lopez (Charlotte, N.C./Olympic) to third. Alcala hit a grounder to second base when Blanco fired home but Lopez beat the throw to cut the lead to 4-2.
UNCG cut the lead to 4-3 after a clutch RBI double from Vega. Junior Dominique Madruga (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) singled to start the inning. After two outs, Nicole Thomas was batting when a lightning delay occurred. After the 43-minute delay, Thomas walked. Vega lined her 34th RBI of the season and ninth double. With runners on second and third, Henderson got a groundout to keep the one-run lead.
Be sure to follow all updates about the UNCG softball team on www.uncgspartans.com or on twitter @UNCGsports/@UNCGsoftball.
SoCon All-Tournament Team
Sam Taylor - Chattanooga
*Katie Henderson – Chattanooga - MOP
Jesslyn Stockard - Chattanooga
Sarah Beth Roberts - Chattanooga
Sarah Purvis - Georgia Southern
Tory Wright - UNCG
Raeanne Hanks - UNCG
Lindsay Thomas - UNCG
Mollie Hanson - Samford
Megan Dowdy – Samford