Valparaiso put up its highest scoring output in over two years,
scoring multiple runs in all five innings as it downed Northern Illinois in the
nightcap Wednesday in DeKalb,
Ill., 13-1. The Huskies struck first in the opener and
went on to a 5-3 victory over the Crusaders as the two squads split the
Valpo got all the runs it
would need in the nightcap in the first inning, as with two out and one on,
senior Ashley Wolter (Denver,
Iowa/Denver) launched a towering shot that cleared not only the center-field
fence, but also another fence set 30 feet further back. The Crusaders added three more insurance
tallies in the second, as sophomore Sadie
Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) ripped a first-pitch RBI double and
freshman Sara Strickland (Phoenix,
Ariz./Horizon) added a 2-RBI single later in the frame.
Wolter led off the third for
Valpo with her second homer of the game and 18th of her career,
tying her with Gina Rhoda for the Crusaders’ all-time record. Freshman Joylyn
Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo
Union) followed with her third home run of the
season, hitting a scorcher off the scoreboard behind the left-center field
fence, to put the Crusaders ahead 7-0.
The Crusaders made it two
straight leadoff homers in the fourth, as Strickland hit a ball that cleared
the fence in right field for her first career round-tripper. Later in the inning, freshman Kelsey Phalen (Batavia,
tallied a 2-RBI double and Conner added her second RBI two-bagger of the
game. A Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) RBI double and a Wolter
sacrifice fly capped the Valpo scoring in the fifth. The Huskies got an RBI double with two outs
in the fifth to break up the shutout attempt.
Freshman Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson)
improved to 7-0 in her rookie year, going all five innings and giving up just
the lone run in the complete-game victory.
Joreigh Landers took the loss for NIU, falling to 2-6 after giving up
six runs in two-plus innings in the start.
All six of the hitters from the two-hole through the seven-spot
registered multiple hits in the win for Valpo, with Strickland leading the way
with a 3-for-3, 3 R, 3 RBI effort.
Wolter went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and four RBIs as well.
In the opener, NIU got on the
board first in the bottom of the fourth, as Bailey Ouellette recorded an RBI
single and Michelle Williams an RBI groundout to give the Huskies a 2-0
edge. The lead lasted just one-half
inning, however, as with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the fifth,
Strickland lined a 2-RBI single through the right side and off the first-base
umpire, plating both Jill Jacobson (Beecher,
Ill./Beecher) and Alex Lagesse (Beecher,
Ill./Beecher) to tie the game at two apiece.
But the tie game lasted just
one-half inning as well, as Husky leadoff hitter Kayla Kramer hit a two-run
home run in the bottom of the fifth. NIU
added a solo shot by Carly Norton in the sixth to extend the advantage to
5-2. The Crusaders pushed a single run
across in the seventh as pinch-runner Aubrey
Sundling (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) scored on an RBI
groundout by Jacobson, but the potential tying run never got past the on-deck
circle for Valpo.
Lagesse took the loss in the
circle, falling to 4-2 in the complete-game effort, allowing just six hits but
five runs, four of which were earned.
Morgan Bittner improved to 3-8 with the complete-game win for Northern Illinois (5-17).
Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran)
led Valpo in the opener with a pair of hits, while Strickland drove in two
runs, finishing the day with five RBIs.
“I was disappointed in the
result of the first game, but it was great to see the way the players responded
after the loss,” said Crusader head coach Randy
Schneider. “We came out and got
aggressive at the plate, and the results proved that we can hit the ball very
well if we are aggressive. I also
thought Sam pitched another good game for us, holding NIU to one run.”
Valparaiso (17-8) returns to the Valparaiso University Softball
Field on Saturday, as the Crusaders host UIC in a Horizon League doubleheader
at noon. Live stats will be available
for all three games this weekend at www.valpoathletics.com.