Softball Falls In Extra Inning NCAA Regional Opener Against Louisville
May 20, 2011
LOUISVILLE - Cardinal third baseman Chelsea Bemis would hit a walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth as Louisville would upend the UIC softball team, 5-2, on Friday evening in the Flames' NCAA Regional Opener.
UIC (25-23) will face Jacksonville State, who fell to No. 7 California in the Regional's opening contest, in an elimination contest on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. CST.
The Flames had sparse offensive opportunities throughout but countered the Cardinals defensively inning-by-inning.
The tone of the contest was set early as Teresa Aguilar nabbed left fielder Jennifer Esteban as she tried to steal second for her first failed stolen base attempt on the year.
Both squads would open their side of the fifth with a walk, but would be unable to move the runner past second base, entering the sixth inning with a scoreless stalemate.
After a 1-2-3 sixth inning from starter Tori Collins, Louisville brought in Caralisa Connell in relief in the circle after Collins scattered three hits, walked two and struck out a batter.
Senior Carly DeMarco would then put the ball in play near second base, leaving Katie Keller with no options as Heeley headed home for the first run of the game.
Coryn Schmit, who had registered one of the Flames trio of hits heading into extras, drove a ball deep into centerfield, allowing Seddon to score to put UIC ahead by two.
But the host Cardinals proved resilient and ready to respond in the bottom of the eighth as Bemis, who had gone 0-for-3 in her earlier plate appearances, slammed a shot over the left centerfield wall at Ulmer Stadium to cut the Flames' lead to a lone run. Three consecutive singles, including a pair that went into the outfield, would level things at 2-2.
Heeley would walk once again with two outs in the top of the ninth, and a stolen base would put the freshman into scoring position for Aguilar. But a called strike out close out UIC, giving way to Louisville striking in the bottom of the inning.
Consecutive outfield singles would put a pair on for Bemis with one out in the ninth, who would once again connect over center field with a walk-off three run homer to put an end to the extra inning heroics and send the Flames to the elimination contest against the Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon.
"Theres a difference in a two run game when the score is 2-0 , compared to an 8-6 contest; you feel decent but know in the back of your mind that Louisville is a solid team," said head coach Michelle Venturella. "It's just one of those outtings that you have to make the other team earn it and they did.
"Both sides competed so well all night, pitch to pitch. Our kids are playing so hard and after the game, they are ready to see them [Louisville] again, there's no sense of defeat going into play on Saturday."