Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusader Softball Opens Season With Split at UNI Dome Classic
Sam McGee earned the win in the nightcap with six innings of one-hit ball. (Ray Acevedo)
Sam McGee earned the win in the nightcap with six innings of one-hit ball. (Ray Acevedo)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Valparaiso softball team opened its 2010 campaign on Saturday, the earliest it has ever began a season, with a split at the Ramada UNI Dome Classic in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  The Crusaders began the day with a 7-2 loss to the host Panthers, but rebounded in the nightcap with a 4-3 victory over South Dakota.

The Crusaders opened the nightcap against the Coyotes with two runs in the bottom of the first inning.  Sophomore Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) led off the game with a walk, and with two outs, cleanup hitter Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) launched a home run to give Valpo a quick 2-0 lead.

Two innings later, Valpo added a couple more runs that would prove key in the victory.  With two outs, freshman Hayley Bridwell (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) and sophomore Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) posted back-to-back singles followed by a walk by Conner to load the bases.  Sophomore Kelsey Phalen (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) came up with the clutch hit, rapping a two-RBI single to increase the Crusader edge to four runs.

The Crusaders would maintain the 4-0 lead until the fifth inning, when pitcher Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) loaded the bases on a walk and two hit batsmen and South Dakota’s Michelle Jones took advantage, clearing the bases with a three-run triple to cut the Valpo edge to one run.  McGee stepped up though, registering a strikeout to end the Coyote threat as the Crusaders set down the final seven batters in order in the win.

Jones’ triple was the only hit Crusader pitchers gave up to South Dakota, as McGee (1-0) earned the win with six innings of one-hit softball, striking out six batters.  Sophomore Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa Township) earned her first career save after entering in the seventh inning and retiring the side in order.  Offensively, Lagesse tallied two hits to lead Valpo against USD.  South Dakota’s Mel Johnson (0-1) took the complete-game loss.

“Sam really pitched one heck of a game,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider.  “She struggled a bit in the fifth, loading the bases and giving up a big hit, but bounced back to get out of the inning.  I really liked the way Shaleigh came into the game for the seventh and just shut the door on South Dakota.”

In the opener, host UNI would get all the runs it would need in the third inning, pushing three tallies across the plate.  The Panthers added two runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings.  Valpo registered both its runs in the top of the sixth as Phalen registered a 2-RBI double to plate Bridwell and Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher).

Lagesse (0-1) took the loss for the Crusaders, giving up ten hits and seven runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings of work.  Jen Larsen (1-0) earned the complete-game victory for the Panthers.  Bridwell tallied two hits against UNI to lead the Crusader offense.

“It was a new experience for us playing in the dome that first game,” said Schneider.  “With it not being all fenced in, there’s different ground rules about the ball going out of play, and we gave up a couple runs in those cases.  We also gave up a couple other runs on wild pitches and passed balls, as well as an illegal pitch, just runs that if you take away the mistakes, we’re sitting in a pretty close game.”

“Alex pitched a good game overall,” continued Schneider.  “She did a good job pitching for ground balls, but it’s tough for any pitcher to be pitching from behind all the time.  Our offense just struggled to hit early.”

Valparaiso (1-1) closes out play at UNI on Sunday with two more games.  The Crusaders face off against Dayton at 8 a.m. before closing tournament action against North Dakota at noon.

“We were happy to get the win against South Dakota, just to get into the win column,” concluded Schneider.  “It was a good day for our team to come out 1-1, especially with a shorthanded lineup without Jordan [Rutkowski] and Joylyn [Ichiyama].  I really think we’re starting to get on track and will hit the ball better tomorrow.”

W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
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 Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
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 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
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
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
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
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
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W 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