The Penguins lost 7-2 and 4-1, the latter in eight innings.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- Tiffany Patteson finally got a pitch worth hitting and the Youngstown State senior took advantage it.
Her homer was one of the few mistakes made by Illinois-Chicago, as the Flames swept a Horizon League softball doubleheader Friday, 7-2 and 4-1, at McCune Park.
When two evenly matched athletic teams meet in a contest, usually the superior one will find a way to transform the slightest advantage into a victory.
When the Penguins (10-14, 5-4 Horizon) look back on the double setback, they will have to admit the Flames (17-24, 8-2) are in first place in the league standings because they transformed mistakes into runs.
Too many mistakes
In the first inning of the opener, the Flames drew three walks; in the first inning of the nightcap UIC hitters were walked twice. Four of the five players scored.
Before YSU got a chance to bat, it trailed 5-0 and 1-0.
The second game was especially troubling since Patteson homered in the sixth inning to tie it 1-1 before the Penguins lost in the eighth.
Penguin coach Christy Cameron discussed playing from behind in both games.
"We had two bad innings -- the first inning of the first game and the second game the same thing, two walks and an error and they capitalized," Cameron said.
"You have to eliminate those two bad innings. A good team capitalizes on that stuff and that's what they did. You can't do that stuff against a good team."
Outhit Flames in opener
The Penguins had their chances in the opener -- out-hitting the Flames 9-8 -- but they left nine runners on base and twice had players tagged out at the plate.
"We have to look sharp from the beginning -- defensively, pitching, swinging the bat," Cameron said. "I think we did a good job the first game in coming out and swinging the bats well.
"We just can't do things to beat ourselves because good teams will capitalize on walks and errors. So we need to eliminate that; if we eliminate that we'll be fine."
In a low-scoring game with few runners such as the second, mistakes tend to become magnified.
Patteson, hitting .338 on the year, led off the bottom of the sixth with the Penguins trailing 1-0. The first pitch she hit deep to right for her third homer of the year.
"It's always great to come back from any deficit," Patteson said.
"You just look to get yourself on base, not hit the home run. When it happens, it's even better."
Patteson said the pitch was a rise ball "that didn't rise."
So how did it feel?
"When it came off the bat I knew; it felt good, really good."
Had chance to win
Then the Penguins had a chance to take the lead for good but failed.
With one out Kristen McDonnell reached on an error, stole second and one out later advanced to third base on a passed ball.
A ground ball ended the threat and UIC won it in the eighth inning when the Flames connected on consecutive homers.
"When Patteson got us back into it and Kristen got on there ... that's where we got to sense, now they made a mistake," Cameron said.
"That's where we've got to turn around and capitalize on them. Right there, if we do that, that's the game. We win the game."
Patteson, Jamie Fornal, McKenzie Bedra and Lacy Bronson each had three hits on the afternoon.