March 29, 2013
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina softball's (11-22, 3-7 Southern Conference) late innings comeback attempt fell short as the Catamounts dropped the opening game, of a three-game series, to Chattanooga (19-16, 4-3 SoCon) 7-5 Friday.
Errors and miscues really put Western Carolina in the hole and the Catamounts, though they fought hard to do so, just couldn't overcome them.
Freshman Taylor Sigmon got the start and also took the loss falling to 0-7 on the season. Sigmon opened the game with a strikeout to the Lady Mocs' Sarah Poteat but a passed ball by Catamount catcher Heather Chastain allowed Poteat to reach first. The fobble set the tone for Western Carolina and it seemed to plague them throughout the game. Sam Taylor followed with a single and each base runner advanced on the play with Taylor at second and Poteat at third. A ground out RBI by Stephanie Rieck scored Poteat for Chattanooga's first run of the game.
Western Carolina would tie the game with one swing. In the bottom of the first inning Sigmon helped her cause when she launched a homerun over the left field wall to knot the game at one. It was Sigmon's fifth homerun of the season.
Chattanoog retook the lead, 2-1, in the top of the second scoring a run.
After tossing a scoreless third inning, Sigmon and the Catamounts got into a huge jam resulting in five runs for Chattanooga. An error and a pair of passed balls assisted Chattanooga in the scoring. With one out in the fourth, Sigmon was replaced by Jordan Garrett who had a shaky start herself. Garrett had a wild pitch and Chastain had a passed ball, allowing a runner to score, before Garrett got out of the inning.
In the final 3.2 innings, Garrett held Chattanooga scoreless giving up three hits and striking out eight. The three scoreless innings, by Garrett, allowed Western Carolina to try and claw back into the game.
Chattanooga pitcher Taylor Deason had allowed just one run and one hit, Sigmon's homerun, before Western Carolina tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, senior Shemekia Scotton was hit by a pitch and then Haley Pace hit a two RBI homerun to make the score 7-3.
The Catamounts added a run in the fifth inning when Amelia Griffin led off with a single and advanced to second on the throw. She moved to third on a passed ball and scored from an RBI single by Megan Crowe.
Western Carolina pulled within 7-5 with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Pace got her second hit of the day with a single passed the shortstop. After moving to second on a passed ball, Pace scored on a hot shot single by Heather Chastain. With one out, Chastain hit a sharp liner to left field for the RBI.
The Catamounts had a nice set-up for the rally in the bottom of the seventh inning when Crowe was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom half of the inning. Three straight groundouts by Sigmon, Amber Steinhardt and Scotton ended any chance of a rally.
Western Carolina will play Chattanooga in a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.