Flames burn Penguins for series sweep
By Dan Hiner
The Youngstown State softball team couldn’t buy a hit on Saturday during a doubleheader at the YSU Softball Complex.
Illinois at Chicago won both games 13-0 in Game 1 and 10-3 in Game 2.
YSU has lost six of its last seven while the Flames have won eight straight.
UIC hit seven home runs in the doubleheader.
The Penguins recorded nine hits between the two games.
YSU put the ball in play. The Penguins only struck out seven times in 42 at-bats. However, they couldn’t find an opening in the UIC defense.
“Even in the first game, there were some really good hits again, and they just played wonderful defense,” YSU head coach Brian Campbell said.
UIC scored in every inning in Game 1. The game was called in the fifth due to the mercy rule.
Kayla Wedl and Alyssa Griman and Tara McElligott drove in two runs each for the Flames while hitting home runs.
Yazmine Romero had two hits for the Penguins while Sophia Patonis, Milena Lacatena and Dani Dadig each added one.
Paige Geanangel took the loss in Game 1, allowing six runs — three earned. Geanangel allowed three hits and four walks without a strikeout in 11/3 innings pitched.
Kayla Rutherford entered in relief but allowed seven runs — four earned — on eight hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 32/3 innings pitched.
“This is our final home series so we just wanted to go out there hard [for Game 2], you know, bring it to ‘em,” Dadig said. “We scored some runs, played well overall. We just gotta keep working hard, keep our energy up and stick together as a team.”
The Flames hit four home runs in the nightcap, including a three-run homer by Skylee James in a four-run third inning to give UIC a 3-2 lead. The Flames held the lead the rest of the way.
Claire Crane, Wedl and Griman all hit solo home runs for the Flames. Crane also had a two-run double in the seventh inning.
Dadig was the only hitter to record a hit in both games. She drove in Tatum Christy from third on a fielder’s choice to get the Penguins on the board in the second.
Alex DeLeon scored in the next at-bat on a wild pitch. DeLeon also drove in a run when she was hit by a pitched with the bases loaded.
Elle Buffenbarger took the loss. She allowed 10 runs — six earned — on nine hits and three walks. She struck out six in over six innings pitched before Addy Jarvis came in to pitch the final inning.
“You just keep your head down and keep going forward,” Campbell said. “And that’s the biggest thing I want to see these kids [do]. Take a day off there tomorrow and we’ll get right back at it going up to Green Bay next weekend.”
The Penguins will travel to Green Bay for their final regular season series. The series open will be Friday with a doubleheader on Saturday.
YSU players and coaches believe the extra time off will help the team readjust before the Horizon League tournament begins May 8.
“We’re happy for [the days off],” Dadig said. “You know, to refocus and just relax a little bit to clear our minds and come back and play as a team.”