Valparaiso split a doubleheader Tuesday at East Tennessee State in Johnson City, Tenn. The Crusaders fell in the opener, 4-3, before rebounding to capture the nightcap, 4-1.
Valpo received a complete-game effort in the circle in game two from Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield), who scattered nine hits while allowing just one run over her seven innings of work to move to 4-3 on the season. At the plate, Tracy Korth (Elgin, Ill./Larkin [Elgin C.C.] reached base on all four of her plate appearances, including three hits.
Korth started the scoring for the Crusaders in the top of the first, reaching base via an error and coming home after a Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/John Redmond) single and subsequent error. Robinson advanced to third on the error and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Courtney LaFerle (Elgin, Ill./Larkin) to give Valpo a 2-0 lead.
ETSU tallied a run in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 2-1, and neither team would score again until the fifth. In that frame, Ashley Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) recorded one of her two hits in the game and came around to score on an RBI single by Korth, who would follow with another insurance run later in the inning to account for the final score.
In the first game of the day, East Tennessee State struck in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, but the Crusaders answered in the top of the fifth. Wolter singled to lead off the inning and scored three batters later on an RBI single by Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North). Robinson followed with a single of her own, advancing Korb to second, and LaFerle came through in the clutch with a 2-RBI double to put Valpo ahead 3-1.
But the bottom of the inning was not as kind to the Crusaders. ETSU's Caitlin Zyskowski reached on an error and advanced to third base on a Briana Knight double. Two batters later, Katy Jett hit a three-run home run to put the Buccaneers ahead, 4-3, a lead they would hold the rest of the way.
Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) took the loss in relief for Valpo, falling to 3-3 on the season. Zappia allowed three runs in 2 1/3 innings of work, none of which were earned, while striking out three. Chris Halstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) started in the circle and allowed one run in 3 2/3 innings. Offensively, LaFerle and Robinson led the Crusader attack with two hits apiece.
Valparaiso (10-6) returns to the field this Saturday, as the Crusaders travel for a doubleheader against in-state rival IPFW in Fort Wayne. First pitch of the first game is slated for 11 a.m. CDT.