UIC Splits Decisions With Penguins
April 29, 2012
"Today was an offensive battles for both team," head softball coach Michelle Venturella said. "I don't think either team felt comfortable at any point with any kind of lead. I give a lot of credit to Youngstown State. They are a solid hitting team, one of the best we have faced this season. I am excited that our offense also did a lot of good things. I am looking forward to taking everything we have learned through the season into our last series with Wright State, and through the remainder of the season."
In a contest that included a combined 28 hits, 14 for each team, a mid-game postponement and an eventual victory for the Flames, resulted in UIC improving its conference record to 11-7, and extending its winning streak to six games.
Sophomore Natalie Hernandez posted two two-run home runs, while junior Melissa Preish was perfect in her at-bats, going four for four in the game. Together, the two earned five RBI, four and one, respectively.
Hernandez placed two runs on the board for UIC immediately as she hit her second homerun of the season and seventh of her career with a shot to right field. The two-run homer scored lead-off batter Melinda Macias to give UIC a 2-0 advantage.
The Penguins rallied back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two runs, followed by a two-run homerun for a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, Preish led off the inning for UIC, where she earned a single off of a well-placed bunt, followed by a double to left center field by senior Ashley Hewett, which scored Hernandez to earn her 17th RBI of the season. With the Flames earning one run back, the score moved to 4-3, Youngstown State advantage.
Neither team scored during the third frame, but as the Flames began the fourth inning, lead-off batter Preish hit her fifth home run of the season, before Hewett reached on a single and advanced to second base on an error. Junior Teresa Aguilar advanced Hewett to third base on a sacrifice bunt, before sophomore Courtney Heeley scored Hewett. With the score 5-4, Hernandez hit her second two-run home run of the contest to center field to extend the Flames lead to 7-4.
As play resumed Sunday in the top of the fifth inning, sophomore Jenna Marsalli led off the inning. Preish then singled up the middle, before eventually being hit in to take an 8-7 lead over Youngstown due to a RBI by Aguilar.
In the back-and-forth scoring game, Youngstown managed to tie the game at 8-8 in the bottom half of the inning, before UIC went on another scoring spree in the top of the seventh inning.
The spree was ignited by a single up the middle by Marsalli, followed by a base hit to the left side by Preish. With runners on first and second base, the Penguins made a pitching change as Hewett stepped into the box. Hewett reached on a throwing error by the pitcher, which scored Marsalli. Hewett then advanced to second base on a throwing error to home plate by the first baseman, and Preish scored on the over throw. The final run came off of a single by Macias to score Komp for an 11-8 advantage.
The Penguins were unable to come back in the bottom of the seventh and, Hewett, who entered in the bottom of the fifth inning, earned the win inside the circle for the Flames to place her record at 11-12 on the season.
The Penguins scored three runs in the bottom of the first. In the top of the third inning, Schmit singled up the middle, before sophomore Jacki Fletcher laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Schmit to second. Marsalli and Preish followed with back-to-back singles up the middle, with Preish earning an extra base due to an error by the center fielder. Marsalli scored Schmit, and Marsalli scored off of the error. Moving into the bottom half of the third, Youngstown maintained a 3-2 lead.
UIC placed two more runs on the board in the top of the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, senior Kelsey Sturgeon pinch hit, and doubled to center field to earn two RBI, scoring Hernandez and Macias. In the fifth, Hernandez scored Heeley to get the RBI, while Macias scored on a wild pitch.
The Penguins earned one run in the third inning, followed by three in the fourth and one in the fifth and sixth innings to place the score at 9-6.
Heeley hit a lead-off homerun to start the seventh inning, but the Flames effort fell short, with Youngstown State edging UIC, 9-7.
UIC plays host to its final conference series of the season against Wright State Saturday and Sunday. The three-game series begins Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. (CT) as the Flames will honor their three seniors, Macias, Sturgeon and Hewett. In the case of inclement weather, the senior day will be Sunday. Check UICFlames.com for details.