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    Sept. 16, 2013

    CHICAGO – The UIC softball team kicked off its fall season on Saturday, Sept. 14, when it hosted Loyola and Western Illinois at Flames Field.  The Flames were able to fight back against the Ramblers for a 5-4 win, before turning around to take a 7-6 victory over the Leathernecks.

    “I want to thank all of the fans for coming out to the games on Saturday,” head coach Michelle Venturella said.  “It was great to play in front of a full grandstand on such a beautiful day in Chicago.  Overall, it was a great way to start our fall by playing good competition and seeing some promising things from our 2013-14 team.”

    UIC started off the day with a comeback win against Loyola.  The Ramblers held a 4-0 lead after two innings, but the Flames were able to score in two-consecutive innings to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth.  Freshman pitcher Elaine Heflin threw a complete game for UIC, with junior catcher Erica Hampton behind the plate.

    “It was great to come back against a solid Loyola team,” added Venturella.  “We gave them a lot of extra opportunities early, but did a great job of staying composed to be able to come back and get the win.  It was also good to see the team do well with being aggressive on the bases and taking advantage of opportunities.”

    Into the second game against Western Illinois, the two teams combined for a total of 27 hits.  UIC collected 14 on its own, including a run by freshman Kelly Kennedy, who powered the ball over the wall to collect her first homerun as a Flame.  For the second game in a row, the Flames were strong inside the circle, with sophomore Bridget Boyle pitching a complete game for the win, and Kennedy in at catcher.

    “We had a lot of people hit the ball well,” Venturella said.  “It was fun to see Kelly (Kennedy) hit her homerun, since she has been working so hard.  We had some solid at bats from our newcomers, with Paige Peterson sending the first pitch she saw down the left-field line for a RBI double and Amanda Mener finding ways to get on base with her speed.  Western Illinois battled back after being down 7-3 with some timely hits and put pressure on our defense with their speed, but it was good to see Bridget (Boyle) stay composed and find a way to create the outs for our defense.”

    UIC welcomes Loyola back to Flames field on Sunday, while also hosting and facing Northwestern and Eastern Illinois.  The Flames will go up against the Wildcats beginning at 10 a.m. CT, followed by Loyola and Northwestern at 12:15 p.m. and UIC and Eastern Illinois at 2:30 p.m., with the Panthers and Ramblers wrapping up the day at 4:45 p.m.