Softball Closes Friday With 4-3 Loss To UCF
Feb. 18, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. - After opening the morning with a victory over Delaware, the UIC softball team was unable to rally back in the nightcap against UCF, falling 4-3 in game two of the UCF invitational in Orlando.
"I think it was good to get out in game one and just separate ourselves offensively, which is always a really nice sign," said head coach Michelle Venturella. "One of the things we really pride ourselves on is our defensive play, and we just need to be more consistent with that.
The Flames (4-3) took advantage of a rocky start by the Knights (2-4) as Melinda Macias would be struck by the opening pitch of the contest and Carly DeMarco would reach first safely off an infield throwing error. An illegal pitch by starter Lacey Dinney would move the outfield duo to second and third where they would be in place for third baseman Jenna Marsalli opening at bat.
The Naperville, Ill. native would drive in her ninth and 10th RBI of the year off a single to right field that would give Macias and DeMarco ample time to round the bases home for a 2-0 lead.
UCF would strand a runner at third at the close of the first inning and looked to cut into the Flames lead in the second as Tiffany Lane's single out to left field looked deep enough to allow Vannessa Perez to score from second. But a strong armed throw from Shannon Kehr to Teresa Aguilar behind the plate prevented the Knights from getting on the board through two.
But four hits, including a home run from pinch hitter Patrice Fee would plate three runs for the home squad to take a 3-2 lead into fifth inning.
UIC responded in the top of the sixth as Marsalli opened the inning with a five pitch walk, and in her first career start, Courtney Heeley rocked a double down along the left field line and brought in Marsalli to cut the Knights lead to one, 4-3.
The Flames would have a final opportunity in the top of the seventh as a Macias single, pair of walks and a infield sacrifice would load the bases, but UIC would conclude the contest with seven runners stranded throughout the duration of the game.
"We have a lot of solid potential within this team, and we've already seen some really good things from all the kids on the field, and I'm really happy with that," said Venturella. "We just need to string together some more consistency in play."
The Flames return to action in the early games on Saturday, facing Miami University at 8:00 a.m. followed by a 10:30 a.m. matchup against Notre Dame.
"We are excited about tomorrow, as we know both Miami and Notre Dame will be great opponents for us, and were excited to go out and make the adjustments that we need to," said Venturella.