Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusader Softball Opens Season With Split at UNI Dome Classic
Sam McGee earned the win in the nightcap with six innings of one-hit ball. (Ray Acevedo)
Sam McGee earned the win in the nightcap with six innings of one-hit ball. (Ray Acevedo)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Valparaiso softball team opened its 2010 campaign on Saturday, the earliest it has ever began a season, with a split at the Ramada UNI Dome Classic in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  The Crusaders began the day with a 7-2 loss to the host Panthers, but rebounded in the nightcap with a 4-3 victory over South Dakota.

The Crusaders opened the nightcap against the Coyotes with two runs in the bottom of the first inning.  Sophomore Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) led off the game with a walk, and with two outs, cleanup hitter Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) launched a home run to give Valpo a quick 2-0 lead.

Two innings later, Valpo added a couple more runs that would prove key in the victory.  With two outs, freshman Hayley Bridwell (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) and sophomore Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) posted back-to-back singles followed by a walk by Conner to load the bases.  Sophomore Kelsey Phalen (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) came up with the clutch hit, rapping a two-RBI single to increase the Crusader edge to four runs.

The Crusaders would maintain the 4-0 lead until the fifth inning, when pitcher Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) loaded the bases on a walk and two hit batsmen and South Dakota’s Michelle Jones took advantage, clearing the bases with a three-run triple to cut the Valpo edge to one run.  McGee stepped up though, registering a strikeout to end the Coyote threat as the Crusaders set down the final seven batters in order in the win.

Jones’ triple was the only hit Crusader pitchers gave up to South Dakota, as McGee (1-0) earned the win with six innings of one-hit softball, striking out six batters.  Sophomore Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa Township) earned her first career save after entering in the seventh inning and retiring the side in order.  Offensively, Lagesse tallied two hits to lead Valpo against USD.  South Dakota’s Mel Johnson (0-1) took the complete-game loss.

“Sam really pitched one heck of a game,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider.  “She struggled a bit in the fifth, loading the bases and giving up a big hit, but bounced back to get out of the inning.  I really liked the way Shaleigh came into the game for the seventh and just shut the door on South Dakota.”

In the opener, host UNI would get all the runs it would need in the third inning, pushing three tallies across the plate.  The Panthers added two runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings.  Valpo registered both its runs in the top of the sixth as Phalen registered a 2-RBI double to plate Bridwell and Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher).

Lagesse (0-1) took the loss for the Crusaders, giving up ten hits and seven runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings of work.  Jen Larsen (1-0) earned the complete-game victory for the Panthers.  Bridwell tallied two hits against UNI to lead the Crusader offense.

“It was a new experience for us playing in the dome that first game,” said Schneider.  “With it not being all fenced in, there’s different ground rules about the ball going out of play, and we gave up a couple runs in those cases.  We also gave up a couple other runs on wild pitches and passed balls, as well as an illegal pitch, just runs that if you take away the mistakes, we’re sitting in a pretty close game.”

“Alex pitched a good game overall,” continued Schneider.  “She did a good job pitching for ground balls, but it’s tough for any pitcher to be pitching from behind all the time.  Our offense just struggled to hit early.”

Valparaiso (1-1) closes out play at UNI on Sunday with two more games.  The Crusaders face off against Dayton at 8 a.m. before closing tournament action against North Dakota at noon.

“We were happy to get the win against South Dakota, just to get into the win column,” concluded Schneider.  “It was a good day for our team to come out 1-1, especially with a shorthanded lineup without Jordan [Rutkowski] and Joylyn [Ichiyama].  I really think we’re starting to get on track and will hit the ball better tomorrow.”

W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 6 4th/12 (311)
W Tennis Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 6 Milwaukee 7
Softball Detroit 0 VU Softball Field
Apr 6 Valpo 8
Baseball Wright State 4 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 6 Valpo 2
W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 7 9th/12 (642)
Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State