Previewing The Oxford Regional: Chattanooga
The Oxford, Mississippi Regional gets underway on Friday, with four college softball teams vying for a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns, making their 21st-consecutive regional appearance, will be part of a field that also includes the Ole Miss Rebels, the top-seed in the regional, and the #11-overall seed, along with the Southeast Missouri St. Redhawks and the Chattanooga Mocs in the double-elimination event.
Louisiana will take on Southeast Missouri St. in the first game of the regional, on Friday at 3:30 pm, followed by a match-up pitting Ole Miss and Chattanooga at 6 pm.
Today, we preview the Chattanooga Mocs:
Making their 11th NCAA tournament appearance, Chattanooga, winners of the Southern Conference Tournament title, will be making their first NCAA Regional appearance since 2015.
The Mocs, who enter the regional with an overall record of 37-15, won their conference tournament championship, after going 11-7 in league play during the regular season.
Chattanooga enters the regional with a 14-4 record over their last 18 games.
The Mocs don't have a ton of power, with only one player hitting more than 7 home runs this season.
That player is a good one, however, in senior catcher Amanda Beltran, who is hitting .320 with 12 homers and 43 runs batted in.
Junior outfielder Aly Walker leads the team in hitting (.368), while freshman Emily Coltharp is right behind, hitting .346, while topping the team in stolen bases (12).
Chattanooga doesn't hit a lot of homers (38), nor do they steal a lot of bases (28), but they put the bat on the ball and make the defense make plays.
They feature 6 players who are hitting at least a .290, while hitting a .296 as a team, a figure which ranks them in the top 50 in the country.
Look for Chattanooga to make the opposing pitcher work overtime. The Mocs have walked 143 times this season, while striking out 240 times.
Pitching-wise, the Mocs are very solid, if unspectacular.
Sophomore right-hander Allison Swinford, will enter the regional with a record of 10-3, to go along with a 1.50 ERA.
Freshman Mariah Ramirez (12-2, 2.59) and junior Celie Hudson (15-10, 2.08) are other options in the circle.
Hudson saw the most time inside the circle in the Southern Conference Tournament, while Ramirez has only thrown two innings since April 18, but Chattanooga has three capable arms to throw at opposing hitters.
Chattanooga brings in an overall team ERA. of 2.12 into the regional, which currently ranks them an impressive 28th in the nation.
Frank Reed, in his 18th year as head coach at Chattanooga, a 6-time Southern Conference Coach of the Year, has done a really nice job, and will have the Mocs ready to compete this weekend.
To be truthful, Chattanooga just doesn’t have the depth or firepower that Louisiana, Ole Miss, or Southeast Missouri St. will bring into the regional.
That being said, the Mocs won’t be intimidated, having a proud softball tradition.
The three other teams in the regional can’t take Chattanooga lightly, because while it would be an upset if they won just one game this weekend, they are more than capable of winning that one game.
The complete regional schedule is below:
NCAA OXFORD REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, May 17, 2019
G1: 3:30 p.m. – Southeast Missouri St. vs. Louisiana
G2: 6 p.m. – Chattanooga vs. Ole Miss
Saturday, May 18, 2019
G3: Noon – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
G4: 2:30 p.m. – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
G5: 5 p.m. – Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3
Sunday, May 19, 2019
G6: 2 p.m. – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
G7: 4:30 p.m. – (if necessary) Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6