Valparaiso rallied from an early four-run deficit to tie the game in the fourth inning Sunday at the Valparaiso University Softball Field, but Detroit scored the final three runs of the game to earn a 7-4 victory in the finale of the three-game series.
After a 33-minute rain delay prior to the start of the game, the Titans kicked off the scoring with four runs in the bottom of the first inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Ellen Sinclair drilled a three-run double to right-center field to clear the bases. Erica Houthoofd followed with a single, and a Crusader error on the play allowed Sinclair to come around and score to give Detroit a 4-0 lead.
The Crusaders cut into the lead in the third, putting their first tally on the board. Three straight one-out walks loaded the bases for Whitney Warner (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove), who hit a grounder to shortstop. But the throw home was wide, allowing Tracy Korth (Elgin, Ill./Larkin [Elgin C.C.]) to score Valpo’s first run of the game.
Valpo proceeded to tie the game up in the fourth, putting a three-spot on the board. The Crusaders used two walks sandwiched around an Alicia Ashburn (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) single to again load the bases with one out. Pinch-runner KC Boldt (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) came home on a passed ball to cut the Crusader deficit to 4-2, and Korth followed with an RBI groundout to plate Ashburn. Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond) then drove an RBI single into right field to score Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) and tie the game at 4-4.
But those were the last runs that the Crusaders would garner on the day. Detroit scored the eventual game-winning run on a Jacqueline Nortman RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Titans got a home run from Courtney Gill in the fifth to extend the lead to two runs, and added another insurance run later in the frame to close out the scoring.
Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) suffered just her third loss of the season in the circle, allowing six runs, five earned, in 4.1 innings of work while striking out six batters. Jill Perry improved to 2-4 on the year for Detroit (5-14, 1-3 Horizon) with 3.1 innings of perfect relief work.
Valparaiso (17-9, 2-1) steps out of conference for a doubleheader at #17 DePaul on Thursday afternoon in Chicago, Ill. First pitch of the opening game is set for 3 p.m.