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    March 23, 2012

    CHICAGO – The UIC softball team (12-13/0-0 Horizon League) is set to hold its home and conference opener Saturday as the Flames play host to Cleveland State at 1:00 p.m. (CT) at the Flames Field in Chicago, Ill.

    The Flames plan to play a doubleheader Saturday, followed by a single game Sunday at Noon.



    The Flames have a 13-12 record overall … Melissa Preish leads UIC with a .421 batting average, with 14 runs, 32 hits (five doubles, one triple and three homeruns) … pitcher, Devin Miller is .500 (8-8) on the mound with a 4.50 ERA … Miller has blanked 71 batters … Ashley Hewett carries a 3-5 pitching record with a 4.37 ERA … as a team, UIC is batting .293 … Preish, junior Coryn Schmit and sophomore Jacki Fletcher have started all 24 games this season … Schmit leads the team in RBIs with 19 and homeruns with four.


    Cleveland State has a 7-19 record … Dara Toman leads the team with a .368 batting average, including 28 hits (six doubles and eight homeruns) ... Toman also leads the team in RBIs with 21 … as a team, the Vikings are batting .255 … Megan Bashak spends the most time on the mound for Cleveland State, she has a 2-10 record, with a 2.87 ERA … six different pitchers have seen playing time for the Vikings … Alicia Nichols is 7-11 on stolen bases.


    The Flames last played Cleveland State on May 11, where UIC defeated the Vikings in the opening round of the Horizon League Tournament in a 9-0 decision … Hernandez hit two homeruns in the victory … Devin Miller led the team to the win with no walks, while fanning five batters.




    Head coach, Michelle Venturella, welcomes a new coaching staff ... hitting coach, Sami Baugh, who served as the top assistant coach at Central Michigan for the past four years. Prior to her coaching stint, Baugh was a four-time letterwinning catcher and three-time Academic all-Big Ten selection at Iowa ... pitching coach, Eileen Canney, a two-time All-American and former Northwestern pitcher joins the Flames with a wealth of playing experience at the collegiate, national and international level. Canney served as a coach during the 2011 Under Armour All-American high school game ... volunteer assistant, Heather Han, joins the staff after playing and coaching at Eastern Michigan.


    A 2012 Horizon League Tournament championship gave the Flames their first NCAA berth since 2004. UIC concluded the 2011 season with the top fielding percentage in the league, .968 percent. Schmit tied for third place in homeruns with 10, while Miller blanked 227 batters to finish third in strikeouts.


    UIC faced Western Illinois (March 21) and fell in an 8-5 decision at the Mary Ellen McKee Stadium in Macomb, Ill. … the Flames scored three runs to begin the game, and two more in the second inning, but the Leathernecks outscored the Flames with eight runs … Melinda Macias, Schmit and Hewett all had two hits in the contest … UIC totaled eight hits to Western Illinois’ nine.


    Schmit was a postseason first-team all-Horizon League honoree as she had a league-best slugging percentage of .800, while also leading the Flames in homeruns with six. The first baseman logged 16 RBI in 20 League contests, and concluded the season with a .315 batting average. Hernandez garnered 2011 postseason all-second and all-newcomer Horizon League honors after the shortstop posted a .349 batting average, while committing only four errors on the season. She added nine RBI, three homeruns and a triple during her rookie season.

    Follow UICSoftball on Twitter, Facebook and live stats through the link, which can be accessed through the softball schedule.