Emma Sturdivant With Four RBI’s as Mocs Down Furman in SoCon Tourney Opener
(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA — Senior Emma Sturdivant went 3-for-3 with a homerun and four RBI while sophomore Allison Swinford recorded a career-high seven strikeouts in the circle to lead the No.3 seed Chattanooga Mocs softball team to a 9-5 victory over No. 6 Furman in the opening round of the Southern Conference Tournament on Wednesday afternoon.
Chattanooga (34-14) advances to the quarterfinal round tomorrow and will face No. 7 Western Carolina (21-30) after the Catamounts upset second-seeded Samford. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. after original game times moved up one hour due to impending weather.
Full game recap and notes are below.
BOX SCORE » Chattanooga, 9, Furman 5
Chattanooga’s Celie Hudson and Furman’s Emily DeMonte earned the starting nods and squared off against each other in the circle for the third time this season. Unlike the previous meetings, both starters would be chased from the game in an early manner.
Both teams were retired in order to begin the game before Chattanooga failed to cash in on a bases loaded, no-out situation in the bottom of the second to keep things scoreless.
Furman exploded for four runs on four hits in the top of the third to build a 4-0 lead. The newly appointed Southern Conference Player of the Year, Marissa Guimbarda, blasted a two-run homer to left field before a Taylor Vahle two-run double brought in the third and fourth runs of the inning.
Chattanooga responded immediately in the home half of the third. After Alyssa Coppinger reached on a fielding error, Emily Coltharp laced a single up the middle to land runners on first and third with no outs.
Hayleigh Weissenbach knocked in Coppinger with a sacrifice fly to pull UTC within three, 4-1. Aly Walker followed with an RBI double before Emma Sturdivant unloaded her fourth homer of the year, a two-run shot, to tie the game 4-4.
Allison Swinford entered the game in the top of the fourth in relief of Hudson after the Mocs rally locked the game up. She recorded a pair of strikeouts including one to end the fourth after surrendering a leadoff double.
UTC took advantage of three Paladin errors in the home half, plating four runs (all unearned) on a pair of hits. Coppinger recorded an RBI and reach on an error before Walker brought her in on a dropped pop fly to short left. Emma Sturdivant belted an RBI double off the wall in left to cap off the rally and amass the 8-4 lead.
Vahle added a solo homerun in the fifth for the Paladins to pull the team within three, 8-5. Furman loaded the bases with two outs before Swinford shut down the threat with a looking strikeout on a full count to protect the three-run lead.
Weissenbach tripled to lead things off in the sixth before Sturdivant recorded her fourth RBI of the game on a single through the left side, extending the Mocs advantage to 9-5.
Swinford (9-3) allowed just one hit down the stretch while keeping the opposition scoreless to clinch her second-straight victory in the circle. She struck out a career-high seven batters while walking two and limiting Furman to five hits and one run.
Chattanooga out-hit Furman, 10-8, and recorded four extra-base hits during the win. The Mocs are now 14-1 in games when recording 10+ hits.
Notable performances: Allison Swinford (W, 4.0IP, 5H, 7K), Emma Sturdivant (3-for-3, HR, 4 RBI), Katie Corum (2-for-3), Aly Walker (1-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Hayleigh Weissenbach (1-for-3, 3B, RBI)
» Chattanooga improves to 34-14 overall after the win… sixth-straight opening round victroy in the SoCon Tournament… 12th season of 34+ wins under Reed since 2002.
» Emma Sturdivant went 3-for-3 with four RBI including a two-run homer… fourth homer of the season and 39th RBI… career RBI total is now at 77… batting a team-high .362 (55-for-152).
» Allison Swinford recorded a career-high seven strikeouts in just 4.0 innings of relief work… registered a victory in her last two appearances… now 9-3 with SoCon-best 1.51 ERA this season… ranks among top 30 in NCAA DI.
» Emily Coltharp went 1-for-4 with a run scored… extended hit streak to five games… on-base streak up to nine games.
No. 3 Chattanooga will face No. 7 Western Carolina tomorrow in the quarterfinal round of the Southern Conference Championships at 2 p.m. The original slate of games have been moved up one hour due to impending weather in the afternoon.