Southern Utah scored three runs in the top of the seventh to rally for a 4-3 victory over Valparaiso to spoil the first game at Valparaiso University Softball Field for the Crusaders on Sunday morning.
The Valpo defense stiffened to begin the game as Amanda Gilbertson (Murrieta, Calif./West Albany H.S., Ore.) worked out of a bases loaded jam in the opening inning, allowing the Crusaders to strike first.
In the second, a walk a Corey Burns (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg H.S.) single, the first hit at the new field, and a hit batter loaded the bases for Amy Mitchell (Star, Idaho/Eagle H.S.). The freshman drew a walk to score Gilbertson with the first run of the game. Laurie Grabiak (Saint Louis, Mo./Parkway North H.S.) the grounded out to score Burns and put Valpo up 2-0.
Southern Utah (14-13, 3-0 Mid-Con) scored a run in the fourth as Precious Gallo doubled home Jessica Heineman to cut the lead in half. Gallo had two hits on the afternoon.
The Crusaders added a run in the sixth as Burns doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a second wild toss.
The Thunderbird bats came alive in the top of the seventh as Ashley Howerton singled, plating two runs, the second on a throwing error by Valpo which advanced her to third. Lacee LePrey then hit a sacrifice fly for the go-ahead run.
Valpo (4-16, 0-3) advanced runners to second and third in the seventh, but Tracy Evans-Jones came on to save the game for Southern Utah. LePrey started for the Thunderbirds, working 5.1 innings and striking out 12 before Mandy Brown came in to pick up the win.
Gilbertson worked 6.1 innings for Valpo, allowing all four runs on five hits and striking out three.
Game two of the doubleheader was not played due to travel obligations for Southern Utah.
The Crusaders will return to action to continue their home stand on Wednesday afternoon with a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader against Butler.
Valparaiso University Softball Field Firsts
All on Sunday, April 6, 2003 against Southern Utah
Game- Southern Utah 4, Valparaiso 3
First Pitch- 10:01 a.m., Amanda Gilbertson (Valpo) threw a ball to Precious Gallo.
First Baserunner- Gallo walked in the top of the first.
First Valpo Baserunner- Karen Constien hit by pitch in the bottom of the first.
First Hit- Corey Burns (Valpo) single in the bottom of the second.
First Double- Burns in the bottom of the sixth.
First Triple- None.
First Homerun- None.
First Run- Gilbertson (Valpo) in the bottom of the second.
First RBI- Amy Mitchell (Valpo) drove home Gilbertson with a walk in the bottom of the second.
First Strikeout- Gilbertson fanned Stefani Fisco (SUU) in the top of the first.
First Putout- Ashley Howerton (SUU) was retired Constien to Burns on a sacrifice bunt in the top of the first.
First Winning Pitcher- Mandy Brown (SUU)
First Save- Tracy Evans-Jones (SUU)