Feb. 8, 2014
CMU 5, UIC 2
LUC 8, UIC 2
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The UIC softball team (1-3) concluded its second day of competition at the Total Control Sports Invitational at the Dome on Saturday and suffered a pair of losses to Central Michigan, 5-2, and Loyola, 8-2. Senior Courtney Heeley led the Flames against the Chippewas with a home run and two RBI, while senior Jenna Marsalli and sophomore Alex Wyss each recorded two hits against the Ramblers.
"We talk about how it always starts on the mound and we just need to be more solid with our pitchers," said head coach Michelle Venturella. "I think our offense did some good things today, but we need to continue to grow in that area, as well. The bottom line is that we need to keep the other teams off base, so we are looking to improve on that and we are fortunate to have the opportunity tomorrow against Western Illinois."
The Flames were challenged in their first game by a strong Central Michigan team who was coming off two wins against Drake. The Chippewas took the advantage early on after recording three runs in the first inning. With a runner on second, Carol Ann Sexauer recorded a shot that bounced over the outfield wall for a ground-rule double and RBI. Trista Cox followed it up with the same play to land at second and score Sexauer. The final run of the inning came when Cox scored off a Cory DeLamielleure single down the left-field line.
UIC was able to come out in the bottom of the second to add in its two runs of the game. After junior Paige Peterson received a free base from the Chippewas' Rachael Knapp, Heeley stepped to the plate and belted her first home run of the season over the left field wall to put the Flames within one.
Central Michigan would go on to hit a pair of home runs, one in the third off Cox and another in the fourth from Katelyn Rentschler. The Chippewas ultimately won 5-2, and outhit the Flames by a margin of 6-2, with Marsalli adding a hit late in the seventh on top of Heeley's homer.
Freshman Elaine Heflin pitched four innings for UIC and struck out four batters before sophomore Bridget Boyle came in to finish the game and record one strike out.
In game two against fellow-host Loyola, the Flames were unable to execute on their chances and stop the Ramblers. UIC was presented with opportunities to score in the top of the second. Peterson began the inning with a walk and then reached second and third on consecutive wild pitches. Sophomore Laura Swan was then awarded a walk and advanced onto second on a passed ball. The next three batters reached on a fielder's choice, resulting in the final outs being made at home.
Two outs in the bottom of the second did not stop Loyola, as it put two on to load the basis. Erica Nagel then stepped up to the plate and drove in three runs on a triple to left field before scoring a run for herself on a throwing error to go up 4-0 before ending the inning.
After a pair of walks and a stolen base in the top of the fourth, sophomore Dana Capocci reached on a fielder's choice, allowing pinch-runner Eleni Polites to score. The Ramblers would answer back in the bottom of the inning after a triple to right-center by Alyssa Mannucci to score the runner.
Senior Jacki Fletcher led off in the top of the fifth with a single to right, followed by a walk for Marsalli. Peterson then advanced the runners on a sacrifice bunt and Swan brought in Fletcher on a sac fly, serving as the final run of the game for the Flames.
After sophomore Alice Fitzpatrick pitched 4.0 innings and struck out two batters, Heflin came in as relief in-between batters in the bottom of the fifth. One run would eventually score with the bases loaded, while Heflin came up with two huge strikeouts to end the inning. Loyola would eventually add two more runs in the bottom of the sixth after a pair of doubles to contribute to its game total of 10 hits against UIC's six.
The Flames wrap up competition at the Total Control Sports Invitational on Sunday at the Dome when they take on Western Illinois at 11:30 a.m. CT.