Strong Defense Leads Lady Mocs Past Marshall
Courtesy: GoMocs
Senior Michelle Fuzzard is mobbed by her teammates as she touches home plate after a solo home run.

Marshall at Chattanooga
April 4, 2012
Chattanooga, Tenn. (Frost Stadium)
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
MAR (20-15)
1 0
CHATT (20-13)
WP: Taylor Deason (13-7) LP: Andi Williamson (14-9)

Game Notes:

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team used three game-changing defensive plays to secure a 4-1 win over Marshall at Frost Stadium on Wednesday. Senior pitcher Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach, Calif.) provided the offense by driving in three runs on a solo homer and bases loaded single.

"We are playing good softball with good pitching, clutch hitting with runners on base and playing strong defense," said head coach Frank Reed. "The key was to jump out to an early lead. Even though they tied it, we had the big fifth inning and were able to hold on, which is key in winning ball games. I was really proud of our pitchers and made some really good defensive plays."

Defensively, sophomore outfielder Layne Rainey (Clarksville, Tenn.) made two fantastic plays, a diving catch in shallow left to ensure a run did not score to conclude the top of the sixth, and saved extra bases to end the game with two runners in scoring position by ranging to the gap in left center. Another phenomenal catch was made by senior shortstop Jessica Traxler (Chino Hills, Calif.) with a diving snag down the left field line in foul territory.

"We can probably name Layne [Rainey] the player of the game," said Reed. "She made those catches appear a lot easier than they actually were by using her speed."

Picking up the victory to improve to 13-7 on the season was freshman pitcher Taylor Deason (Clarskville, Tenn.) in a relief effort, tossing three innings and fanning four. The starter, Fuzzard, yielded an unearned run on three hits and notched three strikeouts in four innings of work.

Marshall (20-14) out-hit Chattanooga (20-13) 7-to-6 with Allanna Telles pacing the team with two base knocks. Andi Williamson took the loss throwing 4.1 innings and giving up four runs on five hits, while registering four strikeouts.

The first two innings were quick before the Thundering Herd registered two hits in the top of the third before Fuzzard drove a pitch over the fence in left center. It was the seventh homer of the season for the Huntington Beach, Calif., native.

In the fourth, Marshall loaded the bases on an error, a single by Alysia Hively and walk with two outs. A hit batsman plated a run, but Fuzzard tallied a strikeout to end the rally.

During the Lady Mocs fifth, sophomore outfielder Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) beat-out an infield single to third. Rainey followed it up with another single on the left side of the infield.

With two runners on, sophomore second baseman Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.) sent a soft liner to shallow center. Drawing a walk to push the go-ahead run across the plate was freshman outfielder Cheyenne Willis (Manchester, Tenn.)

Coming through with the bases loaded was Fuzzard with a hard shot up the middle as two runs crossed the plate to increase the advantage to 4-1.

In the sixth, Ashley Gue blooped a one-out double down the left field line. The Lady Mocs defense registered two key outs by coming up with a diving catch in foul territory by shortstop Traxler along with a tremendous read on a ball made by left fielder Rainey, who ranged towards the infield to preserve a run from scoring.

The sixth hit for the Lady Mocs came in the bottom-half as Traxler singled up the middle.

Marshall's last at bat started strong for Deason with a strikeout. Some drama came into play for Chattanooga after Tellus doubled into the right center gap. An infield single and groundout placed runners on second and third for The Herd. Chasing down the final out near the warning track in left center was left fielder Rainey.

The Lady Mocs resume action at Frost Stadium on Friday with a doubleheader against Elon beginning at 1 p.m. Chattanooga plays the Phoenix in the finale of the series on Saturday with a 1 p.m., first pitch. Fans away from the Scenic City can follow the action with live stats and video through MocsVision with the Voice of Lady Mocs softball, Tyler Brown, providing the play-by-play commentary.

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