Softball's Comeback Against Oregon Thwarted In Extra Innings
Feb. 21, 2010
LAS VEGAS - A two-run rally in the top of the seventh would not be enough against Oregon in the Desert Classic finale on Sunday morning as the UIC softball team fell 6-5 in nine innings.
The Flames (4-6) got things going right away in the first as Melinda Macias jacked the opening pitch perfectly along the left field line for a double. With a passed ball moving Macias to third, Brooke Frydendall's line drive single into left field brought Macias home for the first run of the game.
Ashley Hewett would follow suit with a bouncing single to third base, moving Stephanie Chavez to third. The next batter, Shannon Kehr ,was walked with the bases loaded, bringing Chavez came home for a 2-0 score. A wild pitch would bring Hewett in for a three run Flames lead.
The Ducks did their best to retaliate, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame. But Chavez would get one out at home plate, and a pair of outfield flyouts kept Oregon at bay until the third, when outfielder Sam Pappas hit a two run homer to cut the Flames lead to one.
UIC would have their attempts for insurance runs thwarted in the third inning, and as the winds progressively picked up as the game went on, a right field homer by pitcher Jessica Moore would level the contest at three in the bottom of the fourth. A sac fly way out to the right field wall would drive in the go-ahead run for the Ducks, taking a 4-3 lead.
The top of the lineup would get the chance to get the game back in UICs favor in top of the seventh, and an error by second basemen Kaylan Howard allowed Macias to reach first. A well placed sac bunt by Chavez along the left field line moved pinch runner Carly DeMarco to second, and an infield ground out would move her to third.
Hewett, who moved from the dp to pitcher in the sixth, drove a hit all the way to the right field wall, bringing DeMarco in for the game-tying run. Kehr would get an infield hit to move Hewett into scoring position, and another Duck miscue would load the bases for Melissa Preish.
The freshman outfielder, who had a pair of strikeouts and a bunt in her previous at bats, kept a selective eye and walked to give the Flames the 5-4 lead heading to the bottom of the inning.
But with two outs on a 2-2 count, infielder Kelsey Chambers used the blowing winds to her advantage to tie things at five and send the game into extra innings.
UIC was unable to get anything going in the eighth, but Oregon used a sac bunt to move the runner on second to third. With two outs and a ball sailing towards the outfield, Preish made a running grab to send the game to the ninth.
With Chavez out at the plate to cap off the Flames chances in top of the inning, the Ducks lineup returned to the top of the lineup for the bottom of the ninth. A full-count outfield double by firstbasemen Monique Fuiava would drive in the walk-off winning run from second for a 6-5 final score.
Both Macias and Hewett would go 2-for-5 with Hewett getting one of two RBIs in the morning contest. The sophomore pitcher would strike out three and gave up two hits in the final three innings of the game.
"Overall we were pleased with the competitivness of our team," said head coach Michelle Venturella. "We want to put ourselves up against top competition to challenge ourselves and we did just that.
"We put ourselves in position to wih four of five games this weekend, and while we did not get the W, we are to the point of expecting to win every game we play, no matter who the competition is."
The Flames had an ample cheering section all weekend long with Flames family, friends and members of the athletics staff gathering for dinner on Friday evening.
"With much gratitude we thank our athletic administration, especially Athletic Director Jim Schmidt for coming out and supporting our team all weekend long. It was great having the support and energy of so many friends and family at the games as well."
The UIC softball team is idle next weekend, returning to action at the Coach B Classic in Carbondale, Ill. March 6 and 7.