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    May 10, 2012

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    VALPARAISO, Ind. - The third-seeded UIC softball team fought to keep its season alive at the Horizon League Tournament, but the Flames dropped in a 3-0 outcome to top-seeded Valparaiso Thursday at Valpo Softball Field in Valparaiso, Ind.

    "I give a lot of credit to Alex (Legesse) tonight," head softball coach Michelle Venturella said. "She did a great job of keeping our hitters off balance. This is a great group of kids that I have thoroughly enjoyed."

    The Crusaders jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as the team placed a run on the board in the first inning.

    The Flames opened the game and fell in order in the first inning, before going on a two-out rally in the second frame, which was led by junior Melissa Preish. Preish laid down a bunt to reach base, followed by a base hit to shallow center field by designated player Ashley Hewett. UIC was unable to place a run on the board and stranded Preish and Hewett.

    Valparaiso posted two additional runs in the bottom of the second inning, to increase the Crusader lead to 3-0.

    Junior Devin Miller started inside the circle for UIC, and in just short of three innings of work she blanked three batters, while walking three. With one out in the bottom of the third, senior Ashley Hewett entered to pitch for the Flames, and second baseman Jacki Fletcher fielded a pop-up and tagged second to double up the Crusaders for outs two and three in the frame.

    UIC had a chance to score in the top of the fifth as Preish reached on an error by the Crusader shortstop, and similar to the second inning, Hewett singled up the middle, but due to Preish leaving early, she was called out and Hewett returned to bat. Freshman Erica Hampton was retired for the third out as she grounded out to the first baseman.

    The Flames then fell in order in the sixth and seventh innings, with the exception of Fletcher, who reached on a walk during the top of the seventh inning.

    UIC concludes its season with an overall record of 26-27, while going 12-9 in the Horizon League.

    --UIC--