Four hits in the doubleheader by Laurie Grabiak (Saint Louis, Mo./Parkway North H.S.) was not enough for Valparaiso as the Crusaders dropped a twinbill to IPFW 5-4 and 4-3 on Tuesday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.
In the opening game the Mastadons struck first for three unearned runs in the top of the first off of Amanda Gilbertson (Murrieta, Calif./West Albany H.S., Ore.). The Crusaders responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning though. Stephanie Reinke (Parker, Colo./J.K. Mullen H.S.) led off with her first collegiate home run to center and the first homer in field history. Valpo plated another on an RBI fielder's choice by Bridget Schwoegler (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) scored Grabiak.
In the second, the Crusaders scored an unearned run as Nicole Dubs (Genoa City, Wis./Badger H.S.) scored on a throwing error.
The Mastadons added two in the top of the fourth on an Angela Grabczak single. Schwoegler singled home Grabiak in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to one but the Brown and Gold could not plate the tying run the rest of the way, stranding seven runners on base in the game.
Grabiak went 3-for-3 with two runs scored for the Brown and Gold, while Crystal Fisher led IPFW with three hits. Grabczak had four RBI's for the Mastadons.
Gilbertson went the distance, allowing just two earned runs and striking out five, while Mindy Pomeroy earned the win in relief for IPFW.
In the nightcap, IPFW scored two runs in the opening inning before Valpo cut the lead in half on an Amy Mitchell (Star, Idaho/Eagle H.S.) RBI single in the second to plate Schwoegler.
The Mastadons added an unearned run in the sixth before Valpo tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Tana Barnes (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) tripled to left center and scored on a throwing error. Mitchell then singled home Corey Burns (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg H.S.) later in the inning to forge the tie, but IPFW scored an unearned run in the top of the seventh to pull out the victory.
Mitchell was the only Crusader to have multiple hits in game two, while Fisher had three more for IPFW (14-15). Brittany Atteberry (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) struck out seven, allowing just two earned runs but suffered the loss for Valpo (6-20), while Pomeroy again picked up the win in relief for IPFW. The Crusaders were unable to take advantage of six Mastadon errors in the inning.
The Crusaders return to action on Friday evening with a 5 p.m. doubleheader at UMKC in Mid-Continent Conference action.