May 8, 2014
UIC 3, Wright State 0
DAYTON, Ohio – Natalie Hernandez hit a solo home run off the first pitch she saw on Thursday and it proved to be the only run the UIC softball team would need as it shut out No. 2 Wright State, 3-0, at the WSU Softball Field to advance in the Horizon League Championship. Flame thrower Bridget Boyle earned the first shutout victory of her career after striking out five and holding the Raiders to five hits.
“I am so proud of our team for playing two great games,” head coach Michelle Venturella said. “We are playing well as a team and that is great to see at the tournament. Alice (Fitzpatrick) and Bridget (Boyle) did really well on the mound and I thought Erica (Hampton) did a great job of calling both games, managing two very good hitting teams. We did well getting on base and it was nice to see the timely hitting.”
Hernandez put up two hits, going 7-for-8 on the day, while Erica Hampton and Kelly Kennedy doubled and Jenna Marsalli and Courtney Heeley singled, with Heeley continuing a seven-game hit streak.
Leading off the game, Hernandez swung at the first pitch she saw and belted her 11th homer of the season, and second of the day, to left center. UIC was then held off base until the fifth inning, when Marsalli was walked.
The Flames went into the sixth inning and loaded the bases after Heeley and Hernandez went back-to-back with singles for the first hits since Hernandez’s homer in the first. Peterson then walked, but no runs would score as the inning ended in a 1-2-3 double play.
Into the seventh, UIC added two insurance runs with two outs. Marsalli singled, with pinch-runner Eleni Polites coming in and advancing to second on a sac bunt by pinch-hitter Dana Capocci. Hampton then singled to left center, allowing Polites to score, while moving to second on the throw. Savannah Soppet came in to pinch run and scored the Flames’ third run of the game off Kennedy’s fourth double this season.
Boyle pitched the complete 7.0 innings and gave up just one walk. Wright State was held to five hits while it left seven runners on base.
With the win, the Flames will face the loser of Friday’s 10 a.m. CT game between No. 1 Green Bay and No. 3 Valparaiso later in the day at 12:30 p.m. CT.