April 18, 2014
UIC 6, Detroit 3
UIC 7, Detroit 6
CHICAGO – The UIC softball team (12-19, 6-5 HL) came away with two Horizon League wins on Friday as it bested Detroit (4-34, 0-8 HL), 6-3, in game one and came back to finish the doubleheader with a 7-6 walk-off victory at Flames Field. Senior Jenna Marsalli had two hits in each game, including a two-run homer in game two, while sophomore Laura Swan cranked the game-winning solo home run to close out competition.
"We need to be sharper on defense, but it was great to see our offense produce when we needed to," head coach Michelle Venturella said. "We were very happy with the effort of Alice (Fitzpatrick) today on the mound and she did a good job managing their offense. It was also great to see Lindsay (Melson) back on the mound. They were a successful combination for us in game two."
The Flames had a 20-hit outing on the day and received contributions from 10 different players. Following Marsalli’s .571 performance, junior Erica Hampton went 2-for-4 (.500) and seniors Natalie Hernandez and Jacki Fletcher each had three hits in seven at-bats.
Game One: UIC 6, Detroit 3
UIC never let go of its lead in its first game against the Titans after scoring three runs in the first and fourth innings. Fletcher, with two hits and three RBI, and Marsalli, with two hits and one RBI, helped the Flames outhit Detroit, 9-5.
Hernandez swung at her first pitch to lead off the first with a double, while junior Paige Peterson walked and Fletcher singled to score the first run. Marsalli then singled to load the bases before Swan allowed a runner to score on a fielder’s choice and Marsalli eventually came around to score on a groundout play.
With the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, two runs scored for Detroit on a fielding error by the Flames. UIC would head into the bottom of the inning and score its final runs of the game after Hampton singled, Hernandez reached on an error and Fletcher singled to bring in two. The last run scored after Marsalli reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Titans added one more run in the sixth, but it was not enough as the Flames clinched the 6-3 win.
Sophomore Alice Fitzpatrick pitched the complete game to take the win after striking out four and allowing five hits with just one earned run.
Game Two: UIC 7, Detroit 6
UIC scored in the first inning to take the early lead for the second-consecutive game, but Detroit knocked in five runs in the fifth before the Flames tied it in the sixth and ultimately took the win. Nine players assisted with UIC’s 11 hits, with Hernandez and Marsalli adding a pair and Swan nabbing the game-winning walk-off home run, her second homer of the season.
In the first inning, Fletcher continued her hitting streak to 10 games as she singled to right field to bring up Marsalli, who homered for the second time this season to straightaway center and put the Flames up 2-0.
The Titans scored one in the top of the fourth, but UIC headed into the bottom of the inning to collect one of its own after Marsalli singled with her second hit of the game and went on to score off of a Kelly Kennedy single.
Detroit put up five runs in the top of five off a walk, four hits and an error on the Flames to take a 6-4 lead. With UIC up to bat, Eleni Polites singled and Hernandez doubled for the second time on the day before back-to-back walks for Fletcher and Swan brought in a run.
The Flames tied the game in the bottom of the sixth as Hampton walked and Courtney Heeley reached on a bunt before both advanced on a sac bunt by Polites. Hernandez then singled up the middle to bring in both runners, while Peterson followed with a single of her own.
After shutting out the Titans in the top of the seventh, Swan led off in the bottom of the inning and worked up to a 3-2 count before belting the walk-off homer over the left field wall for the win.
Fitzpatrick received the start for the second time on the day and went 4.2 innings, a combined 11.2 on the day, with four strikeouts before redshirt-freshman Lindsay Melson came on as relief. Melson, making her collegiate debut, went on to strike out one and allow just one hit and no runs through 2.1 innings to finish the game and pick up her first career win.
UIC is back at Flames Field tomorrow to complete the series with a single game against Detroit at noon CT. Prior to first pitch, the Flames will honor Fletcher, Heeley, Hernandez and Marsalli for Senior Day.