Illinois-Chicago (5-14) at USF (21-16)
When: Today, 4 and 6 p.m.
Where: Red McEwen Field
The story: The University of Illinois-Chicago should be a team USF is familiar with since the Bulls hosted the Flames during the Speedline Tournament over the weekend. UIC played in the consolation game, beating Canisius 8-2, while USF lost 5-2 to FIU on Sunday morning. The Flames also participated in the adidas Invitational during spring break.
UIC, while only 5-14, is led by Joyce Cathey and her team-leading .377 batting average, team-high 10 RBI and 20 hits. The senior shortstop has played in all 19 games and also has the team’s four home runs.
The Bulls’ offense is a little more spread out among its players, with three players batting .300 or above. Krista Holle, Tiffany Stewart and Christie Chapman are top three on the team, respectively. Stewart leads the team with five home runs and 26 hits, and sophomore left fielder Carly Griffin has a team-high 11 doubles.
Out of the Flames’ four pitchers, none has a winning record, with freshman Kelly Cross posting a 2-4 record in 12 appearances. Cross leads the team with 38 strikeouts but has also given up 17 earned runs and 19 walks. Additionally, Cross has only one complete game while USF freshman Cristi Ecks has five. Ecks, a Virginia native, leads the team with a 0.95 ERA, a 9-8 record and 93 strikeouts. While Ecks has given up 85 hits, she has only given up 14 earned runs.
Keep an eye on: Bree Spence. Posting a 7-5 record and a 1.55 ERA, last season’s Conference USA Freshman of the Year has 62 strikeouts this season and is averaging nearly four a game.
– Mike Camunas