Softball Splits Against Wright State
May 8, 2010
CHICAGO- Seventh-inning rallies decided the outcomes of both of the UIC softball team's contests against Wright State in a doubleheader split at Flames Field on Saturday.
UIC walked off with a 5-4 victory in the nightcap on Ashley Hewett's game-winning RBI single after Wright State took the opener with a five-run seventh that propelled the Raiders to an 11-9 decision.
"The team did a great job to take game two," said UIC head coach Michelle Venturella. "We had all parts of the game working for us. Devin [Miller] did a great job, the defense was solid and we had timely hitting."
The Flames moved to 22-32 overall and 15-8 in the Horizon League, while the Raiders are now 25-27-1 and 15-8 in the Horizon League.
The two teams play a critical contest this Sunday, May 9 at noon to conclude the regular season. A win for UIC would put the Flames in position to clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the 2010 Horizon League Softball Championship next week in Cleveland, Ohio.
Saturday's doubleheader also featured Strikeout 4 Cancer Day festivities. The Flames welcomed six-year old leukemia survivor Sophie Lowe, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and her family to the game, while pink "Save Second Base" t-shirts that promoted breast cancer awareness were donned by UIC student-athletes and coaches prior to the contest.
Sophie's mom, Jen Lowe, spoke to the crowd before Sophie threw out the first pitch to talk about Sophie's positive, winning attitude in defeating the disease.
Game 2: UIC 5, Wright State 4
Hewett hit a bases-loaded single through the right side of the infield in the bottom of the seventh to break a 4-4 deadlock and send the Flames to a 5-4 win in Saturday's second game.
UIC rallied from a four-run deficit by scoring four times in the fifth, with three coming on Shannon Kehr's game-tying three-run homer, to set the stage for Hewett's heroics.
Stephanie Chavez took a four-pitch free pass to begin the rally with one away in the seventh. Brooke Frydendall hit the first pitch she saw from Sarah Palma off the right field wall, allowing Chavez to advance to third on a long single.
Kehr, who went yard twice during the doubleheader, was then intentionally walked to load the bags for Hewett, who grounded a 2-2 offering from Palma past the diving reach of second baseman Justine Shilt to allow Chavez ample time to trot home with the walk-off run.
The RBI base knock proved to be redemption for Hewett, who had a rough time in the circle in the seventh inning of Saturday's opener and the first inning of the nightcap.
After taking the loss in the opener by giving up three seventh-inning runs, Hewett struggled in her start of the second contest. She issued four walks and allowed two hits as the Raiders tagged her for four runs in the first, forcing Venturella to relieve her with Miller after just two-thirds of an inning.
Miller was outstanding in relief, scattering five hits and fanning four in 6.1 innings of scoreless work to keep UIC in the game and eventually get the win.
Chavez started UIC's comeback in the fifth when her double into right center allowed Melinda Macias to score the Flames' first run all the way from first base. Frydendall followed with an infield single, setting up Kehr's big three-run blast off the scoreboard in center.
Game 1: Wright State 11, UIC 9
The Flames rallied back from an early five-run deficit to lead by three runs heading into the seventh, but Wright State mounted a rally of its own with five runs in final frame to defeat UIC by an 11-9 score in Saturday's opening bout.
The opportunistic Raiders went up 5-0 heading into the bottom of the second, thanks in part to three Flames errors. But UIC clawed its way back, scoring twice in the second on Hewett's two-run homer, once in the third on Frydendall's RBI double and twice in the fourth on back-to-back RBI singles off the bats of Claire Donyanavard and Macias to even the game.
UIC took the lead with a three-run fifth. Frydendall led off with a walk, and Kehr followed by ripping Allison's Cox 3-2 pitch over the centerfield fence for a go-ahead two-run round-tripper. The Flames added one more after Palma, on in relief, was cited for two straight illegal pitches with a pair on board that allowed Carly DeMarco to score.
The two teams traded single runs in their respective portions of the sixth, allowing UIC to maintain a three-run cushion, before the fateful seventh.
Kristen Bradshaw hit an RBI double with one away, and Louie Haney drove in Bradshaw on a single to center while advancing to second herself during the throw home to chase Miller from the game.
Hewett came on for the save, but she allowed a single on an 0-2 pitch to China Frost that sent Haney home with the game-tying run. That brought up Shilt, who hit a deep drive over the wall in right center for the go-ahead two-run home run. A single by Jamie Perkins off of Hewett brought Miller back into the game to get the final two outs.
UIC could not mount another rally, going in order to close the bottom of the seventh and the game.