Softball team shuts down Wright State

Lexi Watts

Freshman Lexi Watts led the Flames with a two-hit outing. Photo: Steve Woltmann

One run was all it took as the softball team (29-16, 15-5 Horizon League) came away with a 1-0 shutout victory against Wright State (33-20, 16-5 HL) to take the series, 2-1, Sunday at Flames Field. Freshman Jasmine Willis brought in the game-winning run on sacrifice fly in the sixth frame.

“It was a step in the right direction for our team,” head coach Michelle Venturella said. “Hef came out and threw one of her best games and our offense continued to put runners on base. It was good to see Jasmine come up with the sac fly to put us on top. We stayed composed on defense, which we will need to continue to do. Overall, it was a great team win on a special day for our seniors.”

Prior to the start of the game, the Flames honored their senior class of Bridget Boyle, Dana Capocci, LaRi Mitchell and Laura Swan.

“We are so fortunate that Bridget, Dana, LaRi, and Laura chose to come to UIC,” Venturella said. “They have had a significant impact on this program and have made UIC a better place because they were here. We are also very thankful for their parents, who have always been amazing throughout their time here. The support they have shown for their daughters and for the team is sincerely appreciated. As our four seniors take their next step on their journey, we want to wish them the best and remind them that UIC will always be their program.”

It was a fight to put runners on base as the two teams combined for a mere seven hits, five of were from UIC. Freshman Lexi Watts recorded a two-hit outing to lead the team, while Mitchell, Swan and junior Savannah Soppet also put up singles. Sophomore Tiana Mack-Miller reached base on two occasions with a walk and hit by pitch.

Junior Elaine Heflin dealt her 21st complete game to earn her 16th win and third shutout. She limited the Raiders to two hits, struck out five and walked six.

The Flames left two runners on in the first and two in the third with hits from Watts (2) and Mitchell, in addition to a walk for Mack-Miller. Soppet picked up UIC’s fourth hit to lead off in the fifth but was out on the fielder’s choice.

Wright State stranded five runners through the first four frames off one hit and four walks. It threatened to score in the sixth as Macey Gunther hit a triple with one out, but she was held at third.

In the sixth, the Flames quickly put two runners on as Swan had a leadoff single and Mack-Miller was hit by a pitch. With one out, sophomore Cairns reached first and loaded the bases as WSU committed a fielding error. Willis entered as a pinch hitter and sent the ball into right for a sacrifice fly that allowed Swan to come across the plate.

The Raiders put together a two-out rally in the top of the seventh after UIC dropped a foul ball as they had runners reach on two walks and a passed ball, but Wright State’s power hitter Becka Peterson hit into a ground out to end the game.

The Flames close out the regular season with a three-game series this week against Oakland in Rochester, Mich. Game one is set for 2 p.m. Friday at 2 p.m. with a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday at the Oakland Softball Field.

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