Tigers End Historic Season, Falling 2-1 to Lady Mocs
May 21, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, ALA. --- Memphis' 2011 season came to an end, Saturday, with a 2-1 loss to Chattanooga at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional at the Rhoads Softball Stadium.
A seventh-inning rally fell just shy of propelling Memphis (36-14) into tomorrow's region championship round with Alabama. The Lady Mocs of Chattanooga (43-14) will face the Crimson Tide at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The Tigers ended the game with the tying run on second after junior catcher Nikki Moreno plated the U of M's first run of the game in the inning to bring Memphis within one.
Neither offense could get going early on. The Lady Mocs posed the only early threat in the second inning. With a runner at second and two outs, Chattanooga's Jessica Traxler lined a single to center, but Kamri Chester threw Kasey Tydingco out at the plate to end the inning.
Chattanooga pitcher Kandice Irwin retired the first 12 batters she faced before Jessica Phillips logged Memphis' first hit of the game as the leadoff batter in the bottom of the fifth. She hit several fouls down the left field line before pulling the ball to the right for the single. Shanna Brown came in as a pinch runner and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chester. Ashleigh King singled to centerfield to place runners on the corners with Kailey Kassner up to bat.
Irwin was replaced in the circle by Michelle Fuzzard after allowing two hits put the go-ahead run on third. Alex Marshall came in to pinch run for King and Kassner popped up to short for the second out. Alyssa Palmieri went down swinging to end the Tigers first serious threat of the evening.
Chattanooga scored the first runs of the game in the top of the sixth when Tiffany Baker belted a shot off Hummel over the centerfield fence with Michelle Fuzzard on first to put UTC up, 2-0. It was her third home run of the day after hitting two against Jackson State.
Memphis would challenge in the bottom of the frame, putting two on via a Moreno single and a walk from Maddie McKinley. Phillips struck out swinging with two aboard to end the threat.
The never-say-die Tigers would not go gently into that good night. In the seventh, Chester walked to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Kassner was hit by a pitch, her ninth plunking of the season, two put two on with only one away.
Pinch-hitting for Alyssa Palmieri, Ellen Roberts fouled out to the catcher for out two, bringing the season down to Moreno. She lined a single into left center, scoring Chester and cutting the Lady Moc lead in half.
Irwin re-entered the game on the mound for Fuzzard to face Mott, who entered the game as Memphis' single-season batting champion. She couldn't solve the Chattanooga ace in this battle, going down on strikes and bringing an end to what was a historic Tiger season.
Mott fell just short of the school single-season batting record, finishing her senior campaign batting .344.