UIC Splits Decisions At USF Under Armour Invitational

Junior Courtney Heeley
Junior Courtney Heeley

March 2, 2013

Box Score (Central Connecticut Get Acrobat Reader

Box Score (USF) Get Acrobat Reader

CLEARWATER, Fla. - The UIC softball team (2-12) defeated Central Connecticut State 3-2 in eight innings Saturday at the USF Under Armour Invitational, before being edged by USF 2-1. For the fourth-straight game the Flames gained an early lead over their opponent.

"Devin [Miller] was absolutely solid on the mound today," head coach Michelle Venturella said. "She worked ahead and gave our team a chance to win both games. It was nice to see our team move runners and put pressure on the defense. Our defense came up big in the first game when Melissa [Preish] played a line drive hist just right and then threw out the go-ahead runner at home. Offensively in game one it was nice to see Laura [Swan] hit the ball well, as well as have Jenna [Marsalli] come up big with the game-winning hit."

The Flames posted their third-highest number of hits this season with 10. The team had 12 against Illinois State on Feb. 17 and 11 against Michigan State on Feb. 16. Leading the Flames offensively for the third-straight game was seniors Kara Komp and Melissa Preish who both had two in the extra-inning victory.

Senior Coryn Schmit, freshman Laura Swan and junior Jenna Marsalli each had a hit and an RBI. Juniors Courtney Heeley and Jacki Fletcher both chipped in with a hit a piece to reach the team total of 10.

As a team, the Flames posted their highest team batting average of the season at .277.

Senior Devin Miller threw for UIC and in eight innings of work she tied her season high in strikeouts with seven. The other seven-strikeout game was in the 2-1 victory over Kent State during the first day of the USF Under Armour Invitational.

For the third-consecutive game the Flames jumped out to an early lead on their opponent. UIC posted one run in the bottom of the first inning, before adding another in the bottom of the fourth. Central Connecticut State then answered in the top of the sixth with two runs to even the score.

UIC then held off the Blue Devils during the top half of the international tie-break inning. Then moving in to the bottom of the eighth, Schmit was placed on second base and Swan reached on a fielding error by the second baseman, before she stole second base. Then with runners on second and third, Fletcher flew out to the left field before Marsalli singled to score Schmit, record the RBI and secure a 3-2 victory.

Miller again started for the Flames, and the senior held the Bulls' top-three offensive players (Kourtney Salvarola, Morgan Litchfield and D'Anna Devine) to only one hit.

"In game two Devin [Miller] and Erica [Hampton] managed the USF offense very well," Venturella said. "We gave them extra opportunities, which was the difference in the game. Overall, we are playing better and are continuing to learn and improve."

UIC out-hit USF 6-4 with Komp again recording two hits, while Swan, Fletcher, Marsalli and Heeley all added one each. Fletched was awarded the RBI.

Despite out-hitting the Bulls, UIC committed an additional error (3-2) and left six runners on base in comparison to USF's four.

The Flames placed one run on the board in the fourth, before USF answered with two in the bottom half of the frame. The two runs proved to be enough to conclude the contest in a 2-1 decision.

UIC concludes competition at the USF Under Armour Invitational Sunday against Eastern Kentucky at 8:00 a.m.