The Valparaiso University softball team escaped Valpo before the snow hit and enjoyed the relative warmth of temperatures in the 50s on the opening day of the 2018 season at the Troy Classic in Troy, Ala. on Friday. The Crusaders split their pair of games on day one, falling to SIUE 5-0 before rebounding for a 3-1 victory over Tennessee State.
How It Happened – SIUE
- Valpo had a strong scoring opportunity in the top of the first thanks to a one-out triple from junior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno), but she would be stranded at third. Meanwhile, SIUE took advantage of a Crusader error in the bottom of the first to score three unearned runs.
- In fact, the Crusaders put a runner in scoring position in with less than two outs in each of the first four innings. Senior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) led off the second with a walk and then stole second with one out. Trepanier recorded her second one-out triple of the game in the third, and Callaghan led off the fourth with a single and moved up to second on a wild pitch. But Valpo was unable to push any of the runners across the plate.
- The Cougars added their final two runs in the bottom of the fourth, one of which was an unearned tally, to account for the final margin.
- Valpo would not go down 1-2-3 in any frame, as senior Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) led off the fifth with a single, sophomore Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) was hit by a pitch with two outs in the sixth and sophomore Addison Pixley (Osceola, Ind./Penn) picked up a pinch-hit single in the seventh.
How It Happened – Tennessee State
- Valpo continued to get runners into scoring position early against the Tigers, but couldn’t break the seal on the scoreboard. Sophomore Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) took advantage of an error and a wild pitch to reach second with one out in the second. Senior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) followed in the third with a one-out infield single, and moved over to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. In the fourth, freshman Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error.
- The work of senior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) kept the game scoreless.. In her first six innings, no TSU hitter put a ball into the outfield and no runner advanced past second base.
- Valpo finally broke through to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Pinch-hitter Hannah Dybalski (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) reached to lead off the inning on a TSU error, and Moreno – who re-entered for Dybalski – came around to score on an RBI single from Trepanier for the Crusaders’ first run.
- Junior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) followed with a successful squeeze bunt to score Lawson, and two batters later, Burke knocked a 1-2 pitch back up the middle to plate Trepanier and make it 3-0 Valpo.
- After a relatively easy first six innings, Grossmann ran into her toughest frame as she looked to close out the game in the seventh. A leadoff double and an error brought the potential tying run to the plate immediately before any outs.
- A strikeout and a run-scoring groundout accounted for two outs and made it a 3-1 game with one runner on. The Tigers would load the bases on a single and a walk to push the tying run into scoring position, but Grossmann induced a fielder’s choice grounder to close out the victory.
Inside the Games
- After moving into third position on Valpo’s single-season wins chart with 20 victories last year, Grossmann picked up the complete-game victory in her 2018 debut against Tennessee State. The senior scattered four hits, allowed just one unearned run and struck out seven Tiger batters.
- Grossmann also helped herself in the circle defensively, racking up seven assists. The seven assists are the most by a Valpo pitcher dating back to 1999 (the earliest year single-game records are available).
- Making her first career start against Tennessee State, Burke went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Lawson also racked up a pair of hits in the second game of the day.
- The first game saw Trepanier record triples in each of her first two at-bats of the season. It is just the fourth time since 1999 that a Valpo player has registered multiple triples in a single game – Megan Carroll did it once apiece in 2006 and 2007, while Joylyn Ichiyama picked up two triples in a game in 2012.
- Senior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) took the loss against SIUE – which was a 41-win team last season – despite not giving up an earned run in her three innings of work.
- Burke was one of three Crusader newcomers to debut on Friday. Junior Kelsie Packard (Beloit, Wis./Turner [Rock Valley College]) pitched three innings of relief versus SIUE and allowed just one earned run, while freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) pinch-hit against SIUE and then started at first base versus Tennessee State.
- The Crusaders’ season opener was delayed 50 minutes due to rain – still preferable to the eight-plus inches of snow piling up back on campus.
Valpo (1-1) continues the opening weekend of action with two more games on Saturday. The Crusaders are slated to take on Tennessee State at 9:30 a.m. before facing host Troy at 2:30 p.m. Both games will have live stats available, while the game against the host Trojans will also feature live video.