Softball Returns to Florida for Jacksonville Tournament
Feb. 20, 2014
The Flames will be looking for a win this weekend, as they lost all five games at the UCF/Holiday Inn Classic, Feb. 14-16, to Florida A&M, 6-2 (8), UCF, 5-1, James Madison, 11-1 (6), 5-3, and Middle Tennessee, 3-2. Towards the end of the tournament, UIC picked up its game but was edged in the final innings by its opponents.
Senior Jacki Fletcher led the Flames on offense, going 7-for-14 at the plate for a .500 batting average, as she continues to hold the best average on the season at .467. Senior Jenna Marsalli and junior Erica Hampton additionally contributed to the hit total with five apiece, with senior Natalie Hernandez collecting four.
On the mound, sophomore Bridget Boyle concluded action with the best ERA among the UIC pitchers at 1.47 after going 14.1 innings and earning three runs, while also striking out eight batters in her four appearances and two starts. Boyle’s production in the circle earned her the Horizon League Pitcher of the Week accolade.
The Flames will be faced with some unfamiliarity as this weekend’s tournament marks the first time facing Mount St. Mary’s and the first time since 2001 they have taken on Bethune-Cookman.
Jacksonville (5-5) is coming off a 2-2 performance at the JU Tournament and a 6-0 loss at No. 1 Florida. At the plate this season, Codi Kelly boasts a .387 average with 12 hits, three runs and four RBI, with Victoria Brown producing a .333 average while going 9-for-27 with three home runs. Brown additionally holds a 2.00 ERA for the Dolphins with a 3-2 record, while Cecile Gomez leads all pitchers with a 1.46 ERA. The Flames are 2-2 in the all-time series against the Dolphins after taking a win and a loss during their 2012 meetings.
Bethune-Cookman (1-9) is back in action after competing at the Hatter Invitational in DeLand, Fla., where it picked up its first win of the season against Campbell, 3-2. Calesha Shelley stands out from all other Wildcats as she is hitting .400 after going 12-for-30 at the plate. Sabrina Anguiano holds a 7.62 ERA with 24 earned runs through 28.1 innings with seven appearances and six starts. The first and last time UIC met with Bethune-Cookman was during the 2001 season, when the Flames came away with a 7-3 win at the UTA/Isuzu Classic in Arlington, Texas.
This weekend’s tournament will serve as the first competition of the season for Mount St. Mary’s (0-0). The Mount was selected eighth in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll and kick off the season after going 16-30 last year. Cat Clifford led Mount St. Mary’s on offense in 2013 with a .312 average, as Nicole Pagano ended her pitching campaign with a 2.39 ERA.
Southern Illinois (4-5) is back in Jacksonville, Fla., after competing at the Osprey Invitational, where it went 2-3 with two wins over Savannah State. Taylor Harris is hitting .400 on the season with four hits in 10 at-bats, followed by Caylee Cook (.278) and Kelsey Gonzalez (.250). Alyssa Wunderlich and Katie Bertelsen have split time on the mound and have respective ERA tallies of 4.62 and 4.73, while Taylor Orsburn has a 0.88 ERA in relief. The Flames are 5-7 in the all-time series against the Salukis and last went 1-1 at the Saluki Invitational in 2011.