Softball Captures Horizon League Crown
May 5, 2013
CHICAGO – With a 9-4 victory over Cleveland State Sunday, the Flames clinched a first-place finish in the Horizon League, and will now play host to the Horizon League Tournament, which begins Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. (CT) at Flames Field.
"I am so proud of this team," head coach Michelle Venturella said. "Their perseverance has been amazing throughout this season, so it was fitting that we won the way we did today, coming from behind. It was great to see Melissa [Preish] and Coryn [Schmit] come through with homeruns today, as well as great offensive performances by Jenna [Marsalli] and Natalie [Hernandez]. Devin [Miller] and Erica [Hampton] called a great game today against a solid Cleveland State offense."
Senior pitcher Devin Miller held Cleveland State to just five hits, while the UIC team compiled 14 hits on three different Vikings’ pitchers. Miller improved her overall record to 22-14, including 15-3 in the Horizon League. She has won eight of her last nine games from inside the circle.
Senior Coryn Schmit paced the Flames with two hits and two RBI, while seniors Kara Komp and Melissa Preish, along with junior Jenna Marsalli and sophomore Erica Hampton each had two hits in the contest. Preish and Hampton each chipped in with a RBI.
Cleveland State’s Dara Toman led off the game with a solo shot over the left-field wall and just out of reach of UIC left-fielder Courtney Heeley’s reach.
UIC then answered in the bottom of the second inning as Marsalli doubled, before junior Jacki Fletcher and Hampton each singled to load the bases. Heeley then walked and earned the RBI to score Marsalli to tie the game at 1-1.
The Vikings scored three runs in the top of the third to place the score at 4-1.
The Flames battled back to a 4-3 deficit after Schmit hit a two-run homer – her sixth homerun of the season- in the bottom of the third inning.
UIC limited Cleveland State to those four runs, while tacking on five runs in the bottom of the fifth and one in the sixth. Preish ignited the fifth-inning scoring spree with her seventh homerun of the season to tie the game 4-4.
Marsalli, pinch runner Cyndi Becker, Hampton and Fletcher each scored in the frame to give UIC an 8-4 lead in the fifth inning.
Pinch runner Alex Wyss accounted for the final UIC run in the bottom of the sixth inning to secure the first-place Horizon League finish and a 9-4 win over Cleveland State.
Flames Field will now serve as the host site for the 2013 Horizon League Championship. The tournament begins Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. (CT) as the No. 4 seed will face the No. 5 seed.
Please check back to UICFlames.com or the Horizon League site for a complete bracket of the conference tournament. UIC will begin post-season competition Thursday at 11:00 a.m. against the winner of the fourth- and fifth-seeded game.