Feb. 22, 2014
UIC 13, SSU 1 (5)
JU 8, UIC 0 (5)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The UIC softball team picked up a 13-1 (5) win against Savannah State before falling to Jacksonville, 8-0 (5), at the JU Wingate by Wyndham Tournament on Saturday at the JU Softball Complex. Seniors Jacki Fletcher and Natalie Hernandez each tallied three hits on the day, while nine different players contributed at the plate.
“It was nice to come out today and have all parts of our game on (against Savannah State),” head coach Michelle Venturella said. “Bridget (Boyle) and Erica (Hampton) worked really well together. Our offense did a great job of pushing runs across and our defense was solid. In our second game, we lacked composure in all areas. I am glad we have an opportunity to play two games tomorrow to show that we can play consistent softball.”
After Savannah State went three-up, three-down to start the game, the Flames came out swinging in the bottom of the first and registered a total of eight hits, three walks, four stolen bases and nine runs.
Hernandez led off with a single to center and then advance on a sacrifice bunt by junior Eleni Polites. Fletcher then singled to left before senior Jenna Marsalli just missed a home run but tripled to right center to score two runs. Junior Paige Peterson then singled to center to score Marsalli before junior Erica Hampton singled to left to advance Peterson.
UIC went on to score six more runs with two outs in the inning. After freshman Savannah Soppet walked to load the bases, senior Courtney Heeley received a free base to walk in Hampton. Hernandez then singled down the right-field line to score two and advanced Heeley to third before steeling second and allowing Heeley to score. Polites singled to shortstop to score Hernandez, then stole second before advancing off a single by Fletcher. The final run came in as Marsalli was walked and Polites scored on a wild pitch.
The Tigers’ Torrian Wright hit a home run to lead off the second but would be the only run the visitors would produce. After sophomore Laura Swan was hit by a pitch and Soppet was walked for the second time in the bottom of the inning, Hernandez stepped to the plate and belted her second home run of the season to center for her third hit of the game and to put on three additional runs.
The Flames blanked Savannah State in the third and fourth, while sophomore Dana Capocci singled to left, Hampton walked and Swan singled to left to bring in Capocci in the bottom of the third. The Tigers tried to make a comeback in the fifth, but it was not enough.
Sophomore Bridget Boyle came away with her first win of the season after going all five innings in the circle. Boyle allowed just two hits, with no walks, while striking out three batters.
UIC struggled to produce at the plate in its second game against Jacksonville. Through five innings, the Flames came away with two hits, while the Dolphins tallied 13 with eight runs. The two lone hits came in the first inning by Fletcher and in the third by Heeley, but both would be left on base.
Jacksonville got on the board in the first inning with three runs. Following a walk, a single and a stolen base, another single by the Dolphins brought in both runners. An error on the Flames and two additional singles by Jacksonville brought in another run.
The Dolphins added three more runs in the second as Codi Kelly hit a two-run homer to right center followed by a double to center, a walk and another double to center to bring in one more run. Jacksonville collected another run in the third after a single, a ground out and another single to advance the runner home. With two on after a hit by pitch and a single in the fifth, the runners advanced on a wild pitch before a single to left brought in the game-winning run.
Freshman Elaine Heflin started the game on the mound, but went 1.0 inning and struck out three batters before sophomore Alice Fitzpatrick came in as relief in the middle of the second and went on to strike out two.
The Flames are back at JU Softball Complex on Sunday to conclude action at the JU Wingate by Wyndham Tournament by challenging Mount St. Mary’s at 7 a.m. CT and Southern Illinois at 9:15 a.m.