Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Cruises to Doubleheader Sweep of Northern Illinois
Sara Strickland led Valpo with four hits and four runs scored Wednesday. (Ray Acevedo)
Sara Strickland led Valpo with four hits and four runs scored Wednesday. (Ray Acevedo)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Valparaiso was sharp in all aspects of the game in a doubleheader sweep of Northern Illinois Wednesday at the Valparaiso University Softball Field, downing the Huskies 9-0 in the opener and 14-2 in the nightcap.  The Crusaders matched their program record of four straight shutouts with the blanking in the day’s first game, and also got to 20 wins the fastest of any team in program history.

“It was great to see the way we came out ready to play today,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider.  “We obviously hit the ball extremely well and were very aggressive at the plate in conditions that warranted being aggressive (wind blowing out at 20+ MPH).  I also credit our pitching and defense for working hard, getting ground balls and keeping the ball in the park.  Other than a couple rough innings in the second game, we did a pretty good job spreading out NIU’s hits and keeping their score down.”

Valpo got the scoring started quickly in the opener, as sophomore Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, followed immediately by a solo shot from junior Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington).  Later in the frame, freshman Tori Brown (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison) delivered a two-out double down the left field line to increase the Crusader lead to 5-0 after just one inning.

Sophomore Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) kept the scoreboard rolling by leading off the second inning with a solo homer to right-center field.  Conner would come around to put up another tally after doubling and completing the journey around the bases on a single by sophomore Kelsey Phalen (Batavia, Ill./Batavia).  The Crusaders closed the scoring in the third as an RBI double by sophomore Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union) plated junior Lisa DeBruzzi (Carlisle, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) and Strickland followed right behind DeBruzzi thanks to an NIU error.

Sophomore Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) earned the victory in the opener, improving to 8-3 after tossing three innings of one-hit ball.  Freshman Amanda Bolton (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon [Arizona]) and senior Carrie Franson (Arlington, Wis./Poynette) closed out the game with one perfect inning apiece, each striking out one NIU batter.  Whitney Owen took the complete-game loss for the Huskies, falling to 2-4, while also delivering NIU’s only hit.

The nightcap again saw the Crusaders jump out to a lead they would not relinquish in the bottom of the first.  A Strickland single, Ichiyama double and Rutkowski walk loaded the bases with nobody out, and Conner and Phalen brought home runs with RBI groundouts to give Valpo a 2-0 lead after one frame.  Two innings later, freshman Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) delivered a two-RBI single to increase the lead to four runs.  Freshman Jennifer Hermanson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) connected on an RBI single later in the inning and later scored on an NIU error, while Brown added an RBI groundout to push the Valpo advantage to 7-0 after three.

Northern Illinois cracked the scoreboard for the first time in the top of the fourth, posting two runs on a leadoff homer and a sacrifice fly.  But the Crusaders put a seven-spot on the scoreboard in their half of the frame, highlighted by a three-run homer from Phalen and RBI pinch-hits from junior KC Boldt (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) and senior Whitney Warner (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove), as Valpo closed out its second run-rule win of the day.

Sophomore Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) pitched three shutout innings in the day’s second game to improve to 8-1, while sophomore Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa Township) closed out the game by tossing the game’s final two frames.  Monica Segura took the loss for NIU (10-18), throwing all four innings to drop to 2-7 on the year.

Strickland led the Crusaders at the plate on the day out of the leadoff spot, tallying four hits and tying for team-high honors with four runs scored, a number which Conner matched.  All three of Ichiyama’s hits were two-baggers, while Phalen delivered a team-best five RBIs.

Valparaiso (20-7) returns to Horizon League action on Friday afternoon at noon CDT with a doubleheader at Detroit.  Live stats and live chat for both games will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.

W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
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. Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M 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
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
W 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
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
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