Flames Split Twinbill Against Penguins
April 27, 2013
CHICAGO – The UIC softball team defeated Youngstown State 5-1 during the opening game of the conference doubleheader, before falling 6-5 in eight innings in the second contest at Flames Field on Saturday. Jenna Marsalli and Melissa Preish each homered during the day.
“We knew both games were going to be a challenge, but it was great to come out and get the first one today,” head UIC softball coach Michelle Venturella said. “Youngstown State is a tough team. I was really proud of our kids with how resilient they were today. It was nice to see both catchers pick off runners at crucial times. We had a few balls drop, and Youngstown State took advantage of those opportunities. We didn’t have that same thing happen for us today, but we are ready to come out tomorrow and get a win.”
Junior Natalie Hernandez, Marsalli and sophomore Erica Hampton each collected two hits in the opening game of the series. Hernandez and Marsalli also chipped in with a RBI. The Flames had nine hits, while the Penguins notched only two against starting pitcher Devin Miller, who allowed only one earned run.
Marsalli put the Flames on the board with a solo homer in the bottom of the second inning. During the third inning, Hampton led off with a single and Eleni Polites entered to pinch run. Polites then advanced to second base on a passed ball, before Hernandez singled to center field to score Polites and earn the RBI.
With a 2-0 lead, UIC added a run in the fourth frame and two in the fifth inning for a hefty 5-0 cushion. During the fourth inning, Marsalli doubled and advanced to third on a ball hit by freshman Laura Swan. Fletcher and Hampton each walked to fill the bases, before junior Courtney Heeley singled to right field to score Marsalli. Hernandez and Preish recorded the final two runs in the game for UIC.
Miller’s shutout ended in the seventh inning when Youngstown State catcher Vicky Rumph homered. The Flames secured the game 5-1.
Moving in to the second game of the day, Swan was the only Flames member to collect a multi-hit game. The designated player had two hits on the day, while the team collected seven total. Heeley compiled three RBI in the contest.
The Penguins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, before UIC answered with three runs in the second inning with three runs. Senior Teresa Aguilar earned the RBI as she singled to center field to score Marsalli, before Aguilar and Fletcher scored off of an error that allowed Heeley two bases.
Youngstown State then echoed UIC with three runs to regain a one-run lead at 4-3. The Flames and Penguins continued to battle back and forth as UIC added one run in the bottom of the sixth, before the Penguins would take the lead back in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Preish kept UIC alive with a solo homerun that tied the game at 5-5 and sent the teams to the eighth frame.
Youngstown State gave one final push to add another run in the top of the eighth inning and secured the victory at 6-5.
The Flames conclude the three-game series Sunday at 11:00 a.m. (CT) at Flames Field.