April 29, 2014
NIU 12, UIC 4
CHICAGO - The UIC softball team (12-25) could not hold its 3-0 lead on Tuesday after Northern Illinois (21-27) produced a total of 11 runs over two innings to ultimately take a 12-4 win at Flames Field. Natalie Hernandez and Laura Swan each tallied solo home runs, with Swan going 3-for-3 at the plate against the Huskies.
The Flames had seven hits on the day compared to NIU's 15. Aside from Swan, Hernandez grabbed two hits, while Erica Hampton and Courtney Heeley each had one.
With two outs in the bottom of the first, Jacki Fletcher reached on a NIU throwing error before moving around to third on a single by Swan. Jenna Marsalli was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and bring up pinch-hitter Paige Peterson, who walked to score a run.
The Flames had a repeat performance in the second, as Hernandez stepped to the plate with two outs and belted her ninth home run of the season over the left field wall.
In the third, Swan followed up Hernandez's solo homer with one of her own, crushing her fourth of the season to straightaway center. UIC added its final run in the fourth, when Hampton led off with a single to left and Kelly Kennedy followed with a walk before Heeley reached base on an error with a run scoring on the play.
The Huskies broke out in the top of the fourth and scored five runs off three hits, three free bases and one UIC error. NIU continued its plate production in the sixth after leading off the inning with three-consecutive singles, followed by two more hits and a walk in conjunction with two Flames' errors. The Huskies would add one more in the seventh off a pair of doubles.
Alice Fitzpatrick started for the Flames and went a combined 5.2 innings after coming out in the fourth and reentering in the sixth. Fitzpatrick allowed eight hits and five runs, all earned, while she struck out four. Bridget Boyle spent 1.1 innings in the circle before Lindsay Melson came in for part of the sixth inning.
The Flames will now prepare for their final Horizon League series of the season, set for this weekend in Rochester, Mich., against Oakland. A doubleheader is slated to begin at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday, with a single game on Sunday at 11 a.m.