April 8, 2014
UND 11, UIC 10
UIC 10, UND 2 (6)
CHICAGO – The UIC softball team (10-15) came back from falling 11-10 in its first game against North Dakota (4-24) to take a dominate 10-2 (6) victory in game two at Flames Field on Tuesday. Senior Jenna Marsalli went a perfect 5-for-5 on the day with two doubles and the game-winning walk-off home run in the Flames’ second game, while senior Natalie Hernandez and sophomore Alex Wyss had multiple hits in each contest.
“It was nice to get the win in game two after falling short in the first game,” head coach Michelle Venturella said. “Our offense did a great job today and gave us a chance in both games. Alice (Fitzpatrick) and Erica (Hampton) did a nice job in game two, which set the tone for the team. The one constant with our team is that we never give up and this characteristic will help us in every game.”
UIC produced 23 hits on the day with six doubles and three home runs. In addition to Marsalli’s perfect performance, Hernandez went 5-for-7 with one homer, Wyss collected four hits, senior Courtney Heeley had two doubles and one home run and senior Jacki Fletcher brought in a pair of doubles, as well.
Game One: UND 11, UIC 10
The Flames struggled in their first game against UND, as they went scoreless through three innings before getting on the board with five runs in the fourth and fifth. Hernandez went 2-for-3 with four RBI and Marsalli went 2-for-2 with two walks followed by Wyss and Heeley with two hits apiece and a combined five RBI.
After North Dakota scored two in the first, three in the third and one in the fourth, UIC scored five in the bottom of the fourth to come within one. With Marsalli on third with two outs, Wyss singled before Heeley doubled and freshman Kelly Kennedy singled to put up Hernandez, who hit her sixth home run of the season over the left field wall.
While UND would go on to score five in the top of the fifth, the Flames answered back in the bottom of the inning with five of their own. Three consecutive singles by Fletcher, Marsalli and sophomore Laura Swan led off the inning, followed by a hit-by-pitch on junior Erica Hampton to bring in a run. Wyss’ second single of the game scored two before Heeley doubled for the second time and Hernandez hit a sac fly to allow the final run to score.
The two teams would go scoreless the remainder of the game, with UIC coming up short by just one run in the end. Sophomore Bridget Boyle pitched the complete game for the Flames, going 7.0 innings and striking out two before ultimately receiving the loss.
Game Two: UIC 10, UND (2)
UIC reversed the order of events in its second game with North Dakota as it was the first to score in the first inning and added on to its total in the third and fourth before a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the sixth by Marsalli to give the Flames the win. Marsalli and Hernandez each had three hits in the game in addition to Wyss (2) and Fletcher (2).
Fletcher walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch in the first inning before Marsalli doubled to center to bring in her first of four runs of the game. After forcing UND to go three-up, three-down in the top of the second and third, UIC put up three runs after singles by Hernandez, Wyss and Swan, a double by Fletcher, a sac-fly by Marsalli and an error on North Dakota.
UND scored its lone two runs in the top of the fourth, but the Flames would head into the bottom of the inning to score five and come within one of the run rule. Hernandez singled and stole second before scoring on a Wyss single. Back-to-back doubles by Fletcher and Marsalli brought in two before Heeley homered for the second time this season to add two more runs.
After a scoreless fifth, Marsalli stepped to the plate as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the sixth and belted her first home run of the season over the left field wall to take the game.
Sophomore Alice Fitzpatrick received her sixth start and went all six innings, allowed just three hits, two runs and struck out four batters while walking two to pick up her second win of the season.
The Flames will hit the road to resume Horizon League competition at Youngstown State for a three-game series this weekend, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon CT and a single game on Sunday at 11 a.m. UIC then travels to Cleveland State for a doubleheader on Monday (April 14) at 11 a.m.