Crusaders Conclude Weekend Sweep With 8-0 Victory
Sara Strickland got on base twice and scored two runs for Valpo Sunday. (Ray Acevedo)
Crusaders Conclude Weekend Sweep With 8-0 Victory
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Valparaiso improved to 3-0 to start the 2009 Horizon League campaign with an 8-0, five-inning run rule victory over Detroit Sunday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.

“This was a nice weekend for us,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider.  “Anytime you can get three games in this early in the season and sweep all three, you have to feel great about it.  I was excited to see us come out and be focused today on completing the sweep.”

The Crusaders continued their trend of putting runs on the board in their first time at bat, scoring in the first frame for the 13th time in the season’s first 21 games.  Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) got on with a one-out walk and stole second.  Ashley Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) followed two batters later with her own walk, setting the stage for Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) to continue swinging her hot bat.

The sophomore delivered a single into center field to score Strickland with the game’s opening run, while Wolter continued all the way home on a Titan throwing error.  Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union) continued the two-out rally, driving a single back through the box to plate Conner and give the Crusaders a 3-0 lead after one inning.

Ichiyama registered another RBI single in the third inning, driving in pinch-runner Aubrey Sundling (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North).  Valpo then exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) recorded an RBI triple and Wolter an RBI double to push the lead to 6-0.  Lisa DeBruzzi (Carlisle, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) came up later in the frame as a pinch-hitter with two runners in scoring position and knocked a single back up the middle to score both Conner and Ichiyama to conclude the game.

Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) earned the win in the circle for the Crusaders, improving to 4-1 with a one-hit gem.  Jill Perry took the loss for Detroit (3-15, 0-3 Horizon), giving up seven runs in four-plus innings of work.  Conner and Ichiyama each had two-hit days at the plate for Valpo, while Conner and Strickland scored two runs apiece.

“Alex pitched another nice game for us, allowing just two baserunners,” said Schneider.  “It was also exciting to see us continue to hit the ball well up and down the lineup.”

Valparaiso (15-6, 3-0 Horizon) returns to action on Monday afternoon as the Crusaders travel downstate to Indianapolis to face off against IUPUI.  First pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 3 p.m. CDT, and live stats will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.