CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (May 10, 2003) -- Chattanooga's Melissa Ramirez stroked a two-run double to left field in the bottom of the third inning en route to defeating East Tennessee State, 10-1, in a second and deciding game to win the 2003 Southern Conference tournament at Frost Stadium in Chattanooga.
The two teams were forced to play a second game when East Tennessee State beat Chattanooga, 1-0 in game 14 of the tournament.
The Lady Mocs were hot at the plate, tallying 14 hits, including three for extra bases. Jada Pescatore had two for Chattanooga, and UTC's Ramirez eclipsed two SoCon Tournament records with 11 hits and 11 RBI. Danielle Spetar (Knoxville, Tenn.) led the Bucs with two hits.
Chattanooga scored the bulk of their runs in the third and fourth innings, tallying eight. East Tennessee State's only run came in the top of the third inning when Lindsey Lane (Erwin, Tenn.) singled in Spetar.
Chattanooga placed three on the all-tournament team in Awbrey Winckler, Teri Herbert and the tournament most outstanding player, Ramirez.
East Tennessee State reached the tournament finals for the first time in the program's history. En route to the championship game, the fifth-seeded Bucs defeated Georgia Southern, 4-2, and top-seeded College of Charleston, 2-0. ETSU placed two on the all-tournament team in Tiffany McVay and Spetar.
The win marks the fourth consecutive tournament victory for the Mocs and their seventh tournament title overall in eight years. Chattanooga entered the tournament as the three-seed, having placed third in the regular season SoCon standings. On the road to the tournament title, UTC beat Furman (5-0), UNC Greensboro (3-1) and East Tennessee State (8-0).
Winckler (22-15) picked up the victory for the Mocs, entering the game in the third inning. She allowed only two hits and struck out two. McVay (13-10) suffered the loss for the Bucs on the mound, pitching 3 1/3 innings and allowing 10 hits and nine runs, all of which were earned.
With the tournament victory, Chattanooga earns the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the 2003 NCAA Softball Tournament. ETSU wraps up its remarkable season with an overall record of 28-26, the most wins in the three-year history of the program.
2003 SOCON ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Kim Benningfield, UNC Greensboro
Brooke Flowers, College of Charleston
Teri Herbert, Chattanooga
Meagen Johnson, Furman
Tiffany McVay, East Tennessee State
Jacquie Rothey, College of Charleston
Danielle Spetar, East Tennessee State
Sam Steiner, Georgia Southern
Rachel Stern, College of Charleston
Awbrey Winckler, Chattanooga
Most Outstanding Player, Melissa Ramirez, Chattanooga