Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Sunday Victory Puts Valpo Softball Into First Place
Sadie Conner went a perfect 4-for-4 with six RBIs Sunday. (Dave Schofield)
Sadie Conner went a perfect 4-for-4 with six RBIs Sunday. (Dave Schofield)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Senior Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) went 4-for-4 with a career-high six RBIs, capping the day with her 22nd career home run to match the Crusader all-time record, as Valparaiso completed a series win over Green Bay with a 10-5 victory Sunday morning in Green Bay, Wis.  The win puts the Crusaders in a tie for first place in the league standings with one week remaining in the regular season.

“We were better prepared for [Green Bay pitcher Katie] Cooney today,” said Crusader head coach Jordan Stevens.  “We knew what to expect from Green Bay and the energy that they were going to bring.  I thought we did a nice job setting a good tone in the first inning and came out swinging the bat well.”

For the second straight game against the Phoenix, the Crusaders were able to put runs on the board in their first time at bat.  Senior Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) led off the game with a single into shallow left-center field.  After a pair of outs, Jacobson stole second and then advanced to third when senior KC Boldt (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) reached on a Phoenix fielding error.

Given second life in the inning, junior Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) stepped up and knocked a hard single back up the middle, scoring Jacobson to give the Crusaders the early lead.  For Rutkowski, it was her 41st RBI of the year, giving her sole possession atop the Crusader single-season chart in the category.  Conner followed by lining the first pitch she saw into center field to plate Boldt for a quick 2-0 advantage.

Green Bay threatened to cut into the Crusader lead in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with one out on a walk and a pair of hit batsmen.  But Valpo starter Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) registered a strikeout for the key second out of the frame and then induced a popup to keep the Crusader lead at two runs.

Valpo then extended the lead in its half of the third.  One-out singles by Boldt and Rutkowski put a pair of runners on for Conner, who drove them both in with a line drive down the right-field line into the corner on an 0-2 pitch.  The senior got a double out of it, advancing to third on a misplay by the Phoenix right fielder.  Junior Kelsey Phalen (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) then laid down a beautiful squeeze bunt, with Green Bay unable to even attempt to make a play on Conner as she crossed the plate to give Valpo a 5-0 lead.

Green Bay snapped the no-hitter and the shutout all at once to lead off the bottom of the fourth, as Alli Rivera lifted a solo homer to center field to cut the Crusader edge to 5-1.  But Rutkowski, leading off the Valpo fifth, golfed an 0-1 pitch well over the fence in center field to get the run right back.  For the junior, it was her tenth homer of the season, snapping the tie she was in atop the Valpo single-season chart in that category as well.

After a pitching change, Conner singled into center and then moved up to second when Phalen was hit by a pitch.  A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up 60 feet, and then freshman Amanda Wisniewski (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Huntley) hit a blooper into shallow left-center.  With the wind moving the ball around, a trio of Phoenix fielders were unable to even make a play on it, allowing Conner to trot home to push the lead back to 7-2.

Rivera came up with a two-out RBI single for Green Bay in its half of the fifth to slice one of the runs off the Crusader advantage, moving the Phoenix back to within 7-3, but Valpo answered and then some in the sixth.  Junior Sara Strickland (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) led off the frame with a single back through the middle.  Boldt hit into a fielder's choice as Strickland was forced out, but Rutkowski followed with a four-pitch walk to put two on for Conner. 

The senior delivered a three-run bomb just to the right of center field to put Valpo into double digits on the day.  For Conner, it was her ninth round-tripper of the season and 22nd of her career, tying her with Ashley Wolter atop the Valpo career chart in the category.  Green Bay got a three-run homer from Kendra Woepse in its half of the sixth to move back within five runs, but only one of its last seven hitters reached base as the Crusaders closed out the series win.

Junior Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) earned the victory in relief Sunday for Valpo, tossing the final five innings in relief to improve to 15-5 on the year, a career high in victories for the junior and tied for third-most in a single season in Crusader history.  Katie Cooney took the loss for Green Bay (20-21, 7-13 Horizon), allowing six runs on eight hits in her four-plus innings to fall to 9-10.  The Crusaders tallied 13 hits on Sunday, led by Conner's 4-for-4 effort.  Rutkowski also picked up three hits, while Boldt and Conner joined Rutkowski in crossing the plate three times apiece.  Strickland tallied a pair of hits as well, giving her solo possession of the Crusader career mark in that category.

With the win Sunday, Valparaiso (30-18-1, 13-7 Horizon) moves into a three-way virtual tie atop the Horizon League standings with just one league series remaining next weekend.  Prior to that, however, Valpo will travel east to South Bend to take on #22 Notre Dame in a single game Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. CDT.  Live stats and a live chat for the game will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.

“We're playing well going into the last week of the regular season,” said Stevens.  “Again though, just as all year long, it hasn't been about where we're at in the league standings.  Rather, it's about how we play the games and us taking care of what we need to take care of.  If we do that, we'll let everything else fall where it might.”

W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 6 4th/12 (311)
W Tennis Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 6 Milwaukee 7
Softball Detroit 0 VU Softball Field
Apr 6 Valpo 8
Baseball Wright State 4 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 6 Valpo 2
W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 7 9th/12 (642)
Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
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
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
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
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
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