The Valparaiso softball team concluded its spring break journey on a winning note on Sunday, downing Cornell in its finale at the USF Spring Invitational in Clearwater, Fla. by a 4-3 score.
“It was a good win for us to end the trip on against a solid Cornell team,” said Crusader head coach Jordan Stevens. “We played well over this trip and I'm pleased with where we are at heading into this coming week.”
A solo homer by Cornell's Michiko McGivney kicked off the scoring in the top of the third, but the Crusaders answered immediately in their half of the frame. Redshirt junior Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) led off with an infield single, and three batters later, junior Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) walked to put two on for fifth-year senior Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union). Ichiyama would bring them both home with a two-run double to left, giving the Crusaders a 2-1 lead.
Valpo would add a pair of key insurance runs in the fourth. Freshman Janelle Bouchard (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) led off the inning with a double and would later score on a two-out single by senior Tori Brown (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison). Two batters later, Brown would score as well, crossing the plate courtesy of an RBI base knock from Doerffler which made it 4-1 Crusaders. The insurance runs would prove key, as Cornell scored a pair in the sixth on an error and a sacrifice fly. The tying run was actually on third base with no outs in the seventh, but freshman Taylor Weissenhofer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township) registered a pair of strikeouts and induced a fly-out to secure the victory.
Freshman Sierra Pico (North Las Vegas, Nev./Legacy) earned the victory for Valpo, starting and allowing just one earned run over 5.1 innings of work to improve to 5-4. Weissenhofer picked up her third save of the year. Sammy Roth took the complete-game loss for Cornell (5-7), falling to 0-2. Freshman Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) led the Crusader offensive attack with three hits Sunday, while sophomore Brittany Duncan (Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn) reached in all three of her plate appearances.
Valparaiso (13-10) is scheduled to return home for the home opener at the Valparaiso University Softball Field on Wednesday with a twinbill against Western Illinois. With the current forecast, however, keep tabs on ValpoAthletics.com for updates regarding the upcoming schedule.