Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Last At-Bat Heroics Earn Crusaders Split With Purdue
Whitney Warner came up with the game-winning hit in the nightcap. (Ray Acevedo)
Whitney Warner came up with the game-winning hit in the nightcap. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tied heading into the bottom of the seventh, junior catcher Whitney Warner (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) came up with the big hit, dropping in a walk-off single to plate pinch-runner Aubrey Sundling (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) as Valparaiso defeated Purdue in the nightcap at the Valparaiso University Softball Field on Thursday, 3-2.  The Boilermakers earned a 7-1 victory in the opener.

Freshman Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union) got the rally started in the last of the seventh, drilling a two-strike pitch to the fence in left for a double.  Sundling entered at that point for Ichiyama and alertly moved over to third base on a wild pitch.  Warner then recorded the game-winning hit, putting a 2-0 pitch into shallow left field, dropping it in between the left fielder, center fielder and shortstop.  The win improves the Crusaders’ record against Purdue since head coach Randy Schneider’s arrival to 5-4-1, as Valpo has taken four of the last six matchups.

“I was really proud of our players today for coming out and battling for a full 14 innings,” said Schneider.  “We put six freshmen out there today against a Purdue team that is primarily composed of upperclassmen, and to come out of the day with a win speaks to the mental toughness of our players on the field.  Now we need to use the momentum from this win heading into Green Bay this weekend for a big league series.”

The start of the nightcap did not reflect the pitcher’s duel that the game would eventually settle down into, as both teams plated runs in the opening frame.  Liane Horiuchi led off the game with a walk and eventually scored on an RBI single by Candace Curtis in the top of the first.  Valpo responded in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out individual effort by Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden), who tripled to right-center and then scored on a wild pitch.

Purdue immediately regained the lead in the top of the second, as with one out, Shelby Krammer drilled a triple down the right-field line.  Ashley Barr stepped up next and delivered a sacrifice fly to deep right to plate Krammer.  The Crusaders would get the run back in the bottom of the third, as Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran) led off with a triple and scored on an 0-2 single through the left side by Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher).

Both pitchers then took over, as Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) faced just one batter over the minimum over the final four innings, while Purdue’s Suzie Rzegocki retired ten straight Crusader hitters before Valpo put together the last at-bat heroics.  Kelly improved to 8-5 with the five-hitter, while Rzegocki fell to 18-10 on the season.

“I thought Steph put together another fantastic effort in the circle today,” said Schneider.  “She did a really good job adjusting to the Purdue hitters and really dominated the last half of the game, keeping us in a tie ballgame and giving our hitters chances to win the game.”

Purdue (22-15) got all the runs it would need in the opener in the top of the fourth, as the Boilermakers plated three unearned runs in the inning on an RBI squeeze bunt by Alicia Spack, an RBI single from Barr and an RBI double by Horiuchi.  The Crusaders got one run back in the bottom half of the frame, as Rutkowski launched her first career home run over the left-center fence, the 22nd of the year by Valpo as a team, matching a program record.  But Purdue scored four more runs in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach.

Rzegocki started the opener as well in the circle for Purdue and earned the victory, throwing five innings of two-hit ball, striking out seven.  Freshman Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) took the loss for the Crusaders, falling to 8-3 after giving up seven runs, four of which were earned, in 5.2 innings.

Valparaiso (21-16) looks to move up in the Horizon League standings this weekend, as the Crusaders travel to Wisconsin to take on Green Bay in a three-game series.  The set opens with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m.  All three games of the series will have live stats available at www.valpoathletics.com.

M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo 2 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24 #21/21 Notre Dame 7
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27 Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo