Flames Win Series over Oakland, Advance to HL Postseason

Senior Courtney Heeley had four hits and eight RBI on Sunday.
Senior Courtney Heeley had four hits and eight RBI on Sunday.

May 4, 2014

UIC at Oakland from WebStream Productions, Inc. on Vimeo.

UIC at Oakland from WebStream Productions, Inc. on Vimeo.

UIC 10, Oakland 5 Get Acrobat Reader

Oakland 9, UIC 8 Get Acrobat Reader

ROCHESTER, Mich. – The UIC softball team (14-26, 8-10 HL) clinched the No. 6 seed in the Horizon League Tournament after defeating Oakland (16-23, 5-9 HL), 10-5, in game one of its doubleheader on Sunday at the OU Softball Field. The Flames fell in game two, 9-8, but produced a total of 24 hits on the day.

Through the two contests, Jenna Marsalli led all players with five hits, while Paige Peterson, Courtney Heeley and Kelly Kennedy each had four. Heeley, Marsalli, Laura Swan, Peterson and Kennedy had extra-base hits, with Swan bringing in the game-winning run off a triple in the first game.

Game One: UIC 10, Oakland 5

UIC produced its 10 runs through three innings off 11 hits, with Marsalli going 3-for-4 and Swan, Peterson and Heeley recording two hits apiece. Heeley hit a three-run homer and tabbed four RBI in the game, while Marsalli and Swan each tripled and combined for five RBI.

Marsalli led off the second with her second triple of the season. After two outs, Kennedy walked and Heeley followed with her fourth home run of the season to put the Flames up 3-0. Oakland scored one in the bottom of the inning after a single brought in a runner at third.

With two outs in the third, Swan doubled for the sixth time this season before coming in on a single to center by Marsalli to increase UIC’s lead to 4-1. The Golden Grizzlies then tied it at 4-4 in the bottom of the third off three hits and a Flames’ error, and pulled ahead 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth on one hit and two UIC errors.

The Flames had a big inning in the fifth after scoring six to take a 10-5 lead. Natalie Hernandez and Peterson reached to begin the frame before Jacki Fletcher singled to load the bases. Swan tripled for the first time this season down the left field line to clear the bases and was brought in on Marsalli’s third hit of the game. After Kennedy walked, Marsalli came around on a single by Heeley and pinch-runner Savannah Soppet scored on a Hernandez single.

Bridget Boyle received the start and went 2.1 innings before Alice Fitzpatrick came in to finish the game and collect her second win of the weekend. Fitzpatrick struck out four batters and improved her ERA to 3.92.

Game Two: Oakland 9, UIC 8

The Flames never officially claimed the lead, despite battling back to come within one of the Golden Grizzlies. Kennedy was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBI, while Heeley recorded two hits and four RBI alongside two hits from Marsalli and Peterson.

After Oakland got on the board in the first inning with one run, Kennedy led off in the second with her third double this season and Alex Wyss singled, but both were left on at the end of the frame. The Golden Grizzlies went up 7-0 in the second after scoring six runs off six hits, including two triples.

In the top of the third, the Flames scored five to come within two. Peterson doubled to bring in Hernandez, who singled to lead off the frame. Swan walked and Marsalli singled to load the bases before Kennedy singled to score one. Swan then came in on a wild pitch and Wyss reached first on an OU error, as Heeley tallied UIC’s third double of the game to score two. Oakland added one run in the bottom of the inning to go up 8-5.

Two runs scored for the Flames in the fifth after Marsalli received a free base to begin the inning and advanced to third following a single by Kennedy and fielder’s choice for Wyss. After a forced out at home, Heeley singled to drive in two. OU then added to its total in the bottom of the inning to increase its lead to 9-7.

UIC put up a final run in the sixth as Peterson singled and came around to score following singles by Marsalli and Kennedy.

Elaine Heflin rotated into the circle and pitched 1.2 innings before Lindsay Melson came in to go 4.1 innings with three strikeouts.

With the No. 6 seed in place, the Flames will face the No. 3-seed Valparaiso in the opening round of the Horizon League Tournament on Wednesday at 10 a.m. CT at the WSU Softball Field in Dayton, Ohio.