Softball Prepares for San Diego Classic

Senior Jacki Fletcher boasts a .514 batting average through 13 games this season.
Senior Jacki Fletcher boasts a .514 batting average through 13 games this season.

Feb. 27, 2014

San Diego Classic Tournament Central

The UIC softball team (2-11) will head out west to compete in the San Diego Classic, co-hosted by San Diego and San Diego State, this weekend. The Flames will get the three-day tournament underway at the SDSU Softball Stadium on Friday when they face Fresno State at 11 a.m. CT and Grand Canyon at 1:30 p.m.

UIC is back in action after competing at the JU Wingate by Wyndham Tournament, Feb. 22-23. The Flames went 1-2 on the weekend after taking a win against Savannah State, 13-1 (5), and falling to Jacksonville, 8-0 (5), and Mount St. Mary’s, 5-2.

For the third-consecutive tournament, senior Jacki Fletcher was the most productive Flame at the plate after producing five hits, at least one in each game, in seven at-bats for a .714 batting average to improve her season average to .514. Senior Natalie Hernandez went 4-for-9 (.444) with one home run and added five RBI, as junior Paige Peterson contributed three hits (.429).

Sophomore pitcher Bridget Boyle picked up her first win of the season against the Tigers, going five innings, striking out three batters and allowing just one run. Boyle additionally started against the Mount as she struck out two batters and walked one, while taking the loss.

At the San Diego Classic, UIC will go head-to-head with Fresno State, Grand Canyon and Lehigh for the first time in program history, as it has only taken on San Diego while under the direction of head coach Michelle Venturella and is 0-2 in the all-time series against Utah State.

"We scramble like everyone does to get scouting reports and do everything we can to get as much information on the teams heading into any competition," Venturella said. "The bigger thing right now is playing the game and not playing the opponent, so it doesn't matter who has done what up to this point, we have to get it done between the lines."

Fresno State (10-5) is coming off a 2-3 performance at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with wins against Virginia and LIU Brooklyn. Vonnie Martin boasts the best average among the Bulldogs at .341 with 14 hits, including two home runs, as Brenna Moss is hitting .327 with 16 hits and Stesha Brazil has four home runs and 22 RBI. Pitching for Fresno State, Jill Compton is 6-3 with 18 earned runs in 52.2 innings for a 2.39 ERA, while Hannah Harris is 3-0 with a 4.55 ERA.

Grand Canyon (8-8) returns to competition after a 4-1 performance at its GCU Invitational with wins over Southern Utah and Nevada. Stephanie Pesqueira (.538), Nicole Newbury (.417), Camree Wartman (.368) and Kelsey Barak (.364) lead the offense for the Antelopes and each have contributed one home run, while Wartman has the most hits with 21, followed by Barak with 20. GCU’s pitching staff has produced a 4.58 ERA this season, with Kailey Regester (3.02 ERA) going 4-0 and Pesqueira (5.08 ERA) at 2-4.

Lehigh (0-4) is looking for its first win of the season after going 0-4 at the Diamond 9 Classic to begin its 2014 campaign. Of the starters for the Mountain Hawks, Morgan Decker is hitting .333 with four hits in 12 at-bats, while Alexis Watanabe also has four hits with a .267 average. With two starts on the mound, Emily Bausher holds a 5.09 ERA in 11.0 innings with eight earned runs, while Christine Campbell (5.25 ERA) and Ashley Quigley (6.36 ERA) have also seen action in the circle.

San Diego (3-7) returns home to co-host this weekend’s tournament after going 1-3 at the Santa Clara Tournament, where it picked up a win over Sacramento State. Dana Prelsnik heads the Toreros’ offense with a .393 average (11-for-28) followed by Kylie Ordos hitting .370 (10-for-27), while three of Mary Grabowski’s seven hits have been home runs. Jenny Lahitte has pitched through 31.0 innings with a 3.84 ERA and holds a 2-4 record, with Cassidy Coleman going 1-2 with a 7.39 ERA. The Flames are 4-1 in the all-time series against San Diego and last met the Toreros during the 2012 season, when UIC fell, 8-7 (8).

Utah State (4-2) heads into competition following its first tournament of the season at the Red Desert Classic, where it went 4-2 with wins against Southern Utah, East Carolina, UT Arlington and Nebraska-Omaha. Jolene Koons has gone 7-for-13 (.538) at the plate, with Victoria Saucedo collecting seven hits, with one home run, in 16 at-bats for a .438 average. Noelle Johnson has produced a 2.39 ERA through 29.1 innings on the mound for the Aggies with a record of 3-1, as Abby Indreland is 1-0 with a 3.71 ERA.