April 27, 2013
CHICAGO - Lauren Moore's home run to lead off the sixth inning capped Loyola University Chicago's (25-16, 13-4 Horizon) comeback from an early three-run deficit as the Ramblers earned a 5-4 victory over visiting Green Bay (12-24, 5-11 Horizon) in game two of a doubleheader this afternoon at Loyola Softball Park. The win, coupled with UIC's loss to Youngstown State, has put the Ramblers and Flames in a tie for first place atop the Horizon League standings.
Loyola starter Amanda Ciran worked her way out of some tough spots in the first two innings before running into trouble again in the third. Melissa Michalkiewicz's run-scoring single with no outs broke the scoreless tie and after the Ramblers turned to the bullpen, Green Bay tacked on two more runs in the inning thanks to sacrifice flies by Miranda Reinke and Stacey Butts.
The Ramblers couldn't generate any type of offense early and were shut down the first time through the order as freshman righthander Briana Cavin struck out four of the first nine hitters she faced. However, that began to change in the fourth inning when Brooke Andresen led off with a double and later scored on Lauren Zaworski's hard-hit single to put the Ramblers on the board.
After Kristina Vizza worked out of a jam in the fifth when the Phoenix found itself with a runner at third and only one out, Loyola tagged Cavin for three runs in the bottom half of the inning, the first coming on Brie Pasquale's solo homer to right center. Annie Korth followed with a single and one out later, Olivia Bell smoked a double into the gap in left center to bring in Korth and tie the game at 3. Jessica Balzano capped the three-run inning with a RBI single that plated Bell and gave the Ramblers a 4-3 advantage.
Green Bay would not go quietly, however, and knotted the score in the sixth thanks to an unearned run. With the Phoenix threatening to do even further damage with runners at the corners and two outs, Loyola head coach Missy Beseres turned to her ace, Brittany Gardner, who entered the game in a tight spot but got Reinke to fly out to center on her very first pitch to end the inning.
That set the stage for some more heroics from Moore, who, with a full count deposited a Cavin offering over the fence in left to give Loyola a 5-4 lead. The third baseman has mashed 13 home runs, a Loyola single-season mark, and needs five RBI to match Becky Marx's single-season standard of 44 RBI.
Gardner threw only nine pitches in the seventh inning, and after striking out Butts, retired the next two hitters via groundouts to collect her 14th win of the season and her second of the day.
Seven Ramblers recorded a hit in the game to lead an offense that registered all seven of its hits over the final three innings. Loyola has now won eight straight Horizon League games at home.
Loyola and Green Bay close out the three-game series with a single contest tomorrow at noon.