Softball Drops Heartbreaker in Opening Round of HL Championship

Senior Jenna Marsalli recorded a double and go-ahead homer against Valpo.
Senior Jenna Marsalli recorded a double and go-ahead homer against Valpo.

May 7, 2014

Valpo 4, UIC 3 Get Acrobat Reader

DAYTON, Ohio - Laura Swan and Jenna Marsalli hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning to take a 3-2 lead, but the sixth-seeded UIC softball team could not fend off No. 3 Valparaiso, as it recorded a two-run double in walk-off fashion for the 4-3 win at the WSU Softball Field. The Flames return to competition on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. CT for its second game of the Horizon League Championship.

Marsalli tabbed two of UIC's seven hits on the day with her third homer and 11th double of the season. Natalie Hernandez, Paige Peterson, Erica Hampton and Courtney Heeley, in addition to Swan's fifth home run, also contributed to the hit total.

Alice Fitzpatrick pitched the complete game, going 6.2 innings with five strikeouts and earning just two runs.

The Flames scored first in the third inning when Hampton led off with a walk and advanced to second on a single by Heeley. After Savannah Soppet came in to pinch run for Hampton, she came around to score on a single to center by Peterson.

The Crusaders moved ahead in the bottom of the inning after Horizon League Co-Player of the Year Kaitlyn Ranieri led off with a single and Amanda Wisniewski hit her 12th home run of the season to go up 2-1.

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings, UIC reclaimed its lead in the sixth when Swan and Marsalli went back-to-back at the start of the frame.

Heading into the bottom of the seventh with the 3-2 advantage, Valpo put two runners on with a single and fielder's choice. With two outs, Angie Doerffler doubled to left center to drive in the game-winning run.

The Flames are back at the WSU Softball Field on Thursday in hopes of advancing further into the tournament. UIC will face the loser of a game between No. 1 Green Bay and No. 4 Youngstown State.