April 25, 2009
Contact: Brian McCann
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Christa Coppus' two-run walk-off single in the seventh gave the Vikings their only lead of the day, allowing CSU to split a doubleheader with UIC, winning the first game, 4-3, before dropping the nightcap, 4-1.
The split changes nothing in the race for the Horizon League regular season title as UIC (21-22, 13-3) remains slightly ahead of CSU (26-4, 14-4) in the regular season standings. The two teams will meet on Sunday and each play a three-game series on the road next week.
"This just wasn't our day today," CSU head coach Angie Nicholson said. "We were fortunate to get a split because we didn't attack the ball like we normally do when we were at the plate, our defense was average and we weren't sharp in the circle.
"The only time we came through at the plate was in the seventh inning of the first game which allowed us to rally to win the game. We need to do much better tomorrow and win the final game or we won't control our ability to win the regular season title."
UIC had their bats working in the first game, having base-runners in all but the sixth inning.
The Flames took a 1-0 lead in the second when Alicia Abbott singled home Melinda Marinacci, who had doubled.
UIC regained the lead in the top of the third when Brooke Frydendall doubled home Sarah Clynes from second to make it 2-1. The Flames then pushed the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Clynes led off the frame with a double and came around to score on a single by Frydendall.
CSU got one run back in the bottom of the fifth when they loaded the bases with one out and Natalie DeMatteis grounded out to second, allowing Danielle Young to score.
Young got things going in the seventh when she tripled off the wall in centerfield with one out. Alicia Nichols then drew a walk and promptly stole second. Coppus followed with a line drive single into the gap in right center that allowed both runs to score to give CSU the win.
"We came up with a couple of huge hits in that inning," Nicholson said. "Danielle (Young) really got a hold of that ball to drive it right over the head of the centerfielder. That really started the inning because with her speed, UIC was worried about her on third.
"Christa came through like Christa has done throughout her career. She saw the pitch real well and went with it to right field. With the speed of Danielle and Alicia on the bases, all we needed was for that ball to touch down in the outfield to win the game."
UIC jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning of the nightcap when Melinda Macias singled to score a pair of runs.
CSU would finally get on the board in the sixth when Nichols singled with one out and came around to score on a triple by Coppus to right center. DeMatteis followed with a one-hop groundout to third, but Lia Gordon and Houchin each walked to load the bases before Mimi Mahon grounded out to the pitcher to end the threat.
UIC added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh on a RBI double by Macias and a RBI single by Stephanie Chavez.
The runs turned out to be important as Shalyn Adams singled and Amy Powell walked to open the Viking half of the seventh. The rally ended there however as a pair of ground balls and a pop up ended the game.
"We've been so good at getting the big hit this year that the end to the second game was terribly disappointing," Nicholson said. "We had a chance to tie or take the lead in the sixth but didn't come through and then we gave up some runs in the seventh which again, we normally don't do."
Amanda Macenko pitched both ends of the doubleheader for the Vikings to pick up her 22nd win of the season against 10 defeats. She allowed three earned runs on eight hits in the opener, striking out two without a walk. She gave up four runs on 10 hits in the nightcap.
The Vikings get right back in action, closing out the three-game series with UIC on Sunday (April 26) starting at 12:00 noon at Viking Field.