Merrill mows down Chattanooga on Saturday
GULFPORT, Miss. — UTSA split a pair of games on the second day of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Softball Classic with a 2-0 win against Chattanooga and a 3-0 setback at the hands of No. 14 South Alabama on Saturday.
The Roadrunners (8-11) snapped a three-game losing streak with their win to start the day, before dropping a tight contest to the nationally-ranked Jaguars.
UTSA will close play at the event at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday against No. 12 Baylor (13-4).
Game 1: UTSA 2, Chattanooga 0
Nicole Merrill allowed just one hit and recorded a season-high 12 strikeouts as UTSA opened the day with a 2-0 win over Chattanooga.
Courtney Buchman and Madison Kinley each went 2-for-3 at the plate, and Kinley aided the offense with an RBI for the Roadrunners (8-10). Merrill improved to 3-4 on the season and recorded her first collegiate shutout.
Meanwhile, Sam Taylor provided the only hit of the game for the Mocs (10-7), while Liana Rodrigues took the loss after allowing just one run in her only inning of work.
UTSA gave Merrill the only run that she would need in the first inning. Buchman led off the frame with a single and stole second before scoring on a pair of wild pitches.
An inning later, Victoria Birdwell singled off of reliever Taylor Deason and moved to scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Cosette Hernandez. Kinley then pushed the lead to 2-0 with an RBI double to center field.
That would prove to be plenty for Merrill, who only allowed two runners to advance as far as second base in the contest.
The only hit for the Mocs came in the third inning and their only base runners for the rest of the game came on a walk and three errors.
Game 2: #14 South Alabama 3, UTSA 0
Farish Beard tallied 15 strikeouts in seven no-hit innings to lift No. 14 South Alabama to a 3-0 win over UTSA in the Roadrunners’ final game of the day.
Beard just missed out on a perfect game with one walk on her ledger to move to 8-1 on the season for the Jaguars (14-1). Amanda Minahan homered to key a three-run fourth inning that would be more than enough offense to back Beard.
Chelsea Parker got the start in the circle for the Roadrunners (8-11) and allowed just two hits and a pair of runs in three innings. Kacy Freeze came on in relief and also allowed two hits and a run.
Neither team managed a hit until the bottom of the third, when Clara Bowen led off the frame with a single, but Parker retired the side with no further damage.
The Jaguars came back the next inning with all three of their runs, starting with Minahan’s leadoff homer to center. The blast and a walk to Blair Johnson chased Parker from the game in favor of Freeze, who surrendered a two-RBI single to Taylor Rodgers later in the panel.
UTSA’s only baserunner came in the sixth, when Jade Smith drew a one-out walk that broke up the perfect game. Courtney Buchman then reached with the help of an error and a wild pitch gave the Roadrunners a pair in scoring position with just one out.
However, Beard got Megan Low and Siera Sproul out on strikes before blanking the Birds in the seventh for the victory.