Feb. 14, 2014
FAMU 6, UIC 2
UCF 5, UIC 1
ORLANDO, Fla. – The UIC softball team (1-6) dropped a pair of games on opening day of the UCF/Holiday Inn Classic at the UCF Softball Complex on Friday. The Flames fell to Florida A&M, 6-2, in the eighth inning before suffering a 5-1 loss to host UCF. Junior Erica Hampton led UIC through the two games with three hits, going 3-for-4 at the plate.
The Flames were unable to hold onto the lead in their first game against Florida A&M and would eventually take it to extra innings where they would fall to the Rattlers, 6-2.
UIC picked up a run early in the first as senior Jacki Fletcher hit a single to left in her first at-bat before fellow senior Jenna Marsalli ripped a double to right-center, allowing Fletcher to circle the bases and score. Then in the bottom of the third, senior Natalie Hernandez just missed a home run, as the ball hit the top of the wall in left field to earn a double. Following a fly-out by Fletcher, Marsalli hit her second double of the game to left field to drive in Hernandez and go up 2-0.
The Rattlers came within one in the top of the fourth following a single, where the runner advanced on a sac bunt and then went on to third on a wild pitch before scoring off another single. After a single by Florida A&M in the sixth, the next batter advanced all the way to third on a throwing error to bring in the tying run.
Unable to finish the game in seven innings, Florida A&M started with a runner at second in the eighth before the first batter walked and then the runners advanced on a sac bunt. Two runs would then score on a single to right followed by a walk and a double to center to score two more. The Flames could not answer back, going three up, three down to end the game.
In addition to Marsalli, Hampton had a multi-hit game with three singles in all three of her at-bats to contribute to the Flames hit total of seven.
Sophomore Bridget Boyle got her second start of the season for UIC and pitched 5.1 innings, registering four strikeouts, before sophomore Alice Fitzpatrick came in as relief in the middle of the sixth to finish the game and ultimately take the loss.
The Flames were faced with tough competition and did not get off to the start they wanted in game two against UCF, who took Delaware’s place in the game after the Blue Hens were unable to make the trip due to weather.
The Knights took a 1-0 lead in the first after a single to short and a double put two runners on and a pair of walks brought in their lead. They added another in the second after a single up the middle brought in a runner and three additional runs came in the fourth following a double, two singles, a sac-fly and a throwing error on the Flames.
UIC’s first hit of the game did not come until the third inning, when Fletcher singled to left, but the hit ended the inning after sophomore Dana Capocci, who walked, was thrown out trying for the extra base. Capocci would record a hit in the fifth prior to the Flames first run in the sixth, when Fletcher was hit by a pitch to get on base and then stole second before senior Courtney Heeley singled to right to bring in the run.
Freshmen Kelly Kennedy and Kaleigh Nagle contributed with their first hits of the season late in the seventh, but it was not enough to bring back the Flames.
Freshman Elaine Heflin went 4.0 innings in the circle before Boyle took over on the mound in the fifth inning and went on to limit UCF to just two hits with one strikeout.
UIC is back at the UCF Softball Complex on Saturday to face James Madison at 8 a.m. CT and Middle Tennessee at 10 a.m. for the second day of competition at the UCF/Holiday Inn Classic.