Fifth-year senior outfielder Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) continued to make her mark on the Valparaiso University softball record book on Sunday, matching a pair of program single-game records in her home state as the Crusaders defeated reigning Ivy League champions Princeton in the day’s opener, 10-8. Valpo competed the sweep of the day in the nightcap, as junior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) connected on a three-run tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning of a 4-1 win over UNLV.
How It Happened – Princeton
- Lawson used her speed to get the Crusaders on the board in the first inning against the Tigers, laying down a one-out bunt single and stealing both second and third, coming home after the latter theft on a Princeton throwing error.
- Princeton claimed the lead in the bottom of the second, plating five runs on four hits and a pair of Crusader errors.
- Valpo would get those runs back and more in the top of the third. Lawson singled with one out to score junior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno), and after a walk was issued to Lawton, senior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) drove a 2-2 pitch over the left-field wall for her second career home run to tie the game at 5-5.
- Freshman Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) and senior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) drew back-to-back walks following Stauffenberg’s homer and both would eventually score – Burke on an RBI single by sophomore Hannah Dybalski (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) and Callaghan on a sacrifice fly from senior Brenna Boyle (St. John, Ind./Andrean) – to give Valpo a 7-5 lead.
- The Crusaders doubled their lead with the long ball in the top of the fourth. Lawson turned on the first pitch she saw for a one-out triple, and Lawton promptly delivered a two-run homer to extend the Valpo advantage to 9-5.
- Princeton got those two runs back in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out, two-run single.
- Stauffenberg delivered another RBI for a key insurance run in the top of the sixth, plating Lawson – who led off the inning with a single and stole second – to make it 10-7 Crusaders.
- The Tigers tallied a single run in the bottom of the sixth and then brought the potential tying run to the plate with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but senior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) induced a groundball double play to close out the victory.
How It Happened – UNLV
- The Crusaders wasted little time cracking the scoreboard against the Rebels, either, again pushing across a single run in the top of the first. Trepanier led off the game with a single the opposite way, and two batters later, Lawton drove the first pitch she saw into left-center for a run-scoring double.
- UNLV put runners on base in each of the first three innings, but each time senior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) stranded those runners. In the fourth, however, the Rebels would even the game, taking advantage of a pair of Valpo errors to push across their first run to make it a 1-1 score.
- Valpo put two runners on base in both the fifth and sixth innings, but was unable to break the tie in either frame.
- With the potential of extra innings looming, Lawton decided that seven innings would be enough on this day. The junior came up with two runners on base, courtesy of a leadoff double from sophomore Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) and a one-out walk to Lawson, and knocked an 0-1 pitch over the center field wall for her fourth homer and 19th, 20th and 21st RBIs of the year to give Valpo a 4-1 lead.
- Grossmann needed just five pitches to shut down the Rebels in the bottom of the seventh, inducing a trio of groundouts to close out the win.
Inside the Games
- Lawson put together a game for the record books against Princeton in the day’s opener, finishing 4-for-4 with a walk, four runs scored and three stolen bases. The senior matched the program’s single-game records for both runs scored and stolen bases.
- Lawson became the first player in Crusader history to swipe three bases on three separate occasions.
- The senior is now a perfect 14-for-14 stealing bases this year and is 59-for-62 in her career on the basepaths.
- The four-hit game was the second of Lawson’s career, as she also picked up four hits against Howard early last season.
- With her run in the nightcap, Lawson moved into sole possession of eighth place on Valpo’s career runs scored chart with 102 runs scored – just two out of the seventh spot.
- Not to be overlooked with Lawson’s performance against the defending Ivy League champions is Stauffenberg’s bat in the middle of the order. The senior went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the victory – the second-most RBIs in a single game in her career.
- Lawton scored two runs and drove in a pair as well in the opener, while sophomore Taylor Bowman (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) picked up her first career extra-base hit with a pinch-hit double late in the win.
- Montgomery picked up the win out of the bullpen, entering in relief in the second inning and pitching the final 5.2 innings without walking a batter to improve to 2-3 on the year.
- Lawton drove in all four of the Crusaders’ runs in the win over UNLV, her sixth multi-RBI game already this season – two of which have been four-RBI games.
- Matalin was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate against the Rebels, her first career three-hit game.
- Stauffenberg finished with multiple hits in the day’s finale as well, going 2-for-4 at the plate.
- Lawson’s seventh-inning walk against UNLV extended her on-base streak to 12 consecutive games.
- Grossmann was nearly flawless to earn the win in the circle and improve to 5-1 on the season, as she gave up just three hits and one unearned run in the complete-game victory.
- For Grossmann, it was her third complete game surrendering three hits or fewer in her two seasons as a Crusader, joining back-to-back efforts in May of last season against Wright State and Oakland.
- Valpo’s pair of wins on Sunday improve the Crusaders’ record this season in games decided by three runs or fewer to 7-1.
Valpo (9-4) closes out action from Phoenix with a doubleheader against host Grand Canyon on Tuesday afternoon. The first game is slated for a 2 p.m. CT first pitch.