Flames Defeat Toledo, Fall to Indiana

Senior Natalie Hernandez tallied a 1.714 slugging percentage on Friday.
Senior Natalie Hernandez tallied a 1.714 slugging percentage on Friday.

March 14, 2014

UIC 4, Toledo 3 Get Acrobat Reader

Indiana 4, UIC 1 Get Acrobat Reader

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The UIC softball team (3-12) concluded the first day of the Hoosier Classic by picking up a 4-3 win over Toledo before falling to host Indiana, 4-1, at Andy Mohr Field on Friday. Senior Natalie Hernandez led the Flames on offense by producing an .857 batting average through both games after going 6-for-7 at the plate with three doubles and one home run.

"We did a much better job today as a team," head coach Michelle Venturella said. "Natalie was simply outstanding and, overall, we did better playing pitch to pitch. We need to build off of today and are happy to get the opportunity to play another solid opponent tomorrow."

UIC came out victorious in game one against Toledo. The Flames were led by Hernandez, who went 4-for-4 with two singles and two doubles, and sophomore Laura Swan, who recorded three singles in four at-bats.

The Flames scored the first run of the game in the top of the second. Following a walk for junior Erica Hampton, a single by Swan and a sac bunt by sophomore Alex Wyss to advance the runners, sophomore Dana Capocci brought in Hampton with a sac fly.

In the top of the third, Hernandez singled for the second time before stealing second and advancing to third on a sac bunt by junior Eleni Polites. Senior Jacki Fletcher then hit her third double of the season, allowing Hernandez to score and UIC to go up 2-0.

Hernandez had the first hit in the fifth inning, when she drove the ball to left for a double. Polites then reached on an error and Fletcher received a free base to bring up senior Jenna Marsalli, who hit a sac fly to bring Hernandez in for the third run.

Leading off the top of the sixth, Swan ripped a shot to left-center for the team's third double. Wyss then laid down a bunt to reach first and advance pinch-runner Amanda Mener, who was then caught stealing at home while Wyss took second. After pinch-hitter Rachel May was walked, Hernandez hit her second double to left center to score Wyss.

The Rockets tallied their first run in the bottom of the sixth following a single and three-consecutive walks. Freshman Elaine Heflin then came in to relieve sophomore Bridget Boyle, who pitched 5.1 innings, allowed three hits and struck out one. Two more runs would come in before the inning would end, but Heflin would ultimately take the save after striking out three through the final 1.2 innings.

UIC was unable to come back from a 4-0 deficit in its second game against Indiana, despite holding the opposition to just four hits. Hernandez would put the Flames on the board in the sixth inning with a lead-off home run, belted over the center field wall, but it would serve as the Flames' lone run of the game.

UIC's strong defense prevented Indiana from scoring until the fourth inning, when three batters were walked and a triple brought in all runners with one more scoring off a single. Sophomore Alice Fitzpatrick, who went 3.1 innings with two hits and two strikeouts, began the inning before Heflin came in to pitch 1.2 innings. Boyle would then return to the mound to finish out the final inning in the sixth.

Hernandez additionally picked up the Flames' first hit of the game in the third, but was caught stealing to end the inning. Marsalli, junior Paige Peterson and Fletcher each singled later in the game to contribute to the hit total, but would all be left on base.

The Flames are back at Andy Mohr Field on Saturday for a pair of games against Michigan State at 11:15 a.m. CT and Indiana at 6 p.m. UIC's game against the Hoosiers was originally scheduled for Sunday at 12:45 p.m., but has been moved due to forecasted weather.