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    Softball Drops A Pair Of One-Run Decisions On Thursday At Speedline Invitational
     

     
    Junior Joyce Cathey hit her first career grand slam versus BYU on Thursday.
     
    Junior Joyce Cathey hit her first career grand slam versus BYU on Thursday.
     
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    March 10, 2005

    Box Score

    Clearwater, Fla. - The UIC softball team's tough luck on the diamond continued on Thursday as the Flames opened play at the 2005 Speedline Classic. UIC suffered a pair of heartbreaking, one-run losses to extend its losing streak to eight games, falling 8-7 to BYU in the opener, before getting edged 1-0 by Jacksonville at the Eddie Moore Complex.

    The Flames are now 7-12 on the year and 0-2 in Pool IV at the Speedline Tournament. UIC will be back in action tomorrow when they take on Buffalo at 3:00 p.m. CST.

    Here is a look at the Flames' two games on Thursday.

    Game #1 - BYU 8, UIC 7

    The UIC softball team battled back from a pair of deficits versus BYU on Thursday, but it was not enough as a trio of backbreaking home runs allowed the Cougars to pull out an 8-7 victory in the opening game for both teams at the 2005 Speedline Invitational.

    The loss extended the Flames' (7-11) losing streak to seven games while BYU, which has now hit 27 homers in 13 games, moved to 12-1 on the year with the win.

    Junior Joyce Cathey and senior Cameron Astiazaran helped pace UIC's 12-hit attack. Cathey went 2-for-4 with her first career grand slam. Astiazaran was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

    Freshman Lauren Brennan and junior Nicole Shepard also had multi-hit outings for the Flames.

    Rookie Mercedes Lovato was the losing pitcher in relief. She gave up a pair of home runs, which accounted for all three runs she surrendered in the final 2 1/3 innings.

    Summer Tobias was the winner for BYU in relief.

     

     

    The Cougars owned a 1-0 lead over UIC on Thursday until the second inning when the Flames made BYU pay for a pair of errors in the field. With runners on second and third following the Cougar miscues, Astiazaran delivered a two-out, two-run single to give UIC a 2-1 advantage.

    That was the score in the bottom of the fourth inning when BYU turned some bad Flames luck into four runs. Freshman Daniella Urincho struck out swinging to lead off the frame, but was able to reach first when the ball got past catcher Liz Jacoby.

    Starter Brittany McIntyre retired the next two batters, but instead of being out of the inning it proved to be just the start of a BYU rally. After a single and an error put runners on second and third, Lauren Watson-Perry launched a clutch three-run homer to put the Cougars ahead 4-2.

    Two more hits and another run chased McIntyre from the game with BYU leading 5-2.

    Lovato got UIC out of the fourth and then the Flames quickly showed a little home run power of their own to take the lead back in the top of the fifth.

    UIC loaded the bases with no outs and Brennan cut the Flames' deficit to two with an RBI single.

    BYU brought in its ace, Tobias, out of the bullpen and she fanned Mallory Studzinski for the first out.

    Cathey followed and would not go down as quietly, pulling Tobias' offering over the leftfield wall for her first career grand slam and first homer run of the year, which staked UIC to a 7-5 advantage.

    The Cougars chipped away at the Flames lead in the bottom of the fifth as a solo homer by junior Ashlyn Russell to lead off the inning made the score 7-6.

    In the bottom of the sixth, Russell helped BYU come all the way back with her second long ball in as many at bats. With two outs, Russell laced Lovato's pitch down the leftfield line for her team-high eighth homer of the season, putting the Cougars back in the lead, 8-7.

    The Flames were unable to mount a final rally, going down in order in the seventh.

    Game 2 - Jacksonville 1, UIC 0

    Despite a strong pitching performance from freshman Lauren Brennan, the UIC softball team was unable to snap its losing streak as the Flames were edged, 1-0, by Jacksonville in their second game at the 2005 Speedline Invitational at the Eddie Moore Complex.

    Brennan was out-dueled by Dolphin starter Katie Dobson, who limited the Flames' high-powered offense to just three hits in seven innings in the circle while striking out seven.

    UIC, which is now 7-12 on the year, had been averaging over seven runs and 10 hits per contest in its last three games.

    Jacksonville is now 10-15 on the season.

    Brennan surrendered just one run on five hits in her five innings of work to fall to 0-2 this year.

    The Dolphins tallied their lone run in the bottom of the fifth with the Flames falling victim to another two-out rally.

    After Brennan retired the first two batters, Kacey Yourous drew a walk. She promptly stole second and then scored on Mayate Diaz's single.

    The Flames' best scoring chances came in the first and third innings.

    In the first, UIC put runners on first and third with two outs and was unable to score. In the third, junior Joyce Cathey led off the inning with a single a stole second. But she was stranded there as Dobson retired the next three batters.

    Cathey, junior Nicole Shepard and rookie Brittany Dixon each recorded hits for the Flames in the loss.