The Valparaiso University softball team continued its winning ways at the Aggie Invitational in Davis, Calif. on Saturday, as a fifth-inning home run from sophomore Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) staked the Crusaders to a lead they would not relinquish in a 4-0 victory over host UC Davis.
How It Happened
- Valpo’s best opportunity to score over the first four innings came in its first turn at bat. For the third straight game, junior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) led off for the Crusaders with a single, and senior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) delivered a two-out single later in the frame to put runners on the corners. But a flyout ended that Crusader threat.
- 10 of Valpo’s 11 next batters would be set down by UC Davis pitching, but at the same time, the Crusaders kept the Aggies from cracking the scoreboard as well.
- UC Davis actually put the leadoff hitter on base in each of the first four innings, including its best threat in the bottom of the third with a leadoff double. But each time, Valpo starting pitcher Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) and the Valpo defense got key outs to keep it a scoreless game.
- The top of the fifth brought the first runs of the game for the Crusaders. Senior Jasmine Ramirez (Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium) picked up a one-out single, lining a pitch just inside the third-base bag. Magnifico followed by lining a 1-2 pitch out to right-center, a rocket which cleared the fence within seconds for her second homer of the year to give Valpo a 2-0 lead.
- UC Davis threatened to immediately respond in the bottom of the fifth, putting two on with one out to force the Crusaders to go to Emily Richardson (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) out of the bullpen. The Aggies would get their next runner on to load the bases, but Richardson got a huge strikeout looking on a 3-2 pitch and then got a fly ball to deep right to strand all three runners.
- A one-out bunt single brought the potential tying run to the plate for the Aggies in the sixth, but again Richardson made big pitches, notching back-to-back strikeouts to keep it a 2-0 game entering the seventh.
- Valpo picked up a pair of key insurance tallies to double its lead in the top of the seventh. With nobody on and two out, Trepanier was hit by a pitch. Fifth-year senior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) followed by dropping a single into left-center, and junior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) walked to load the bases. Stauffenberg stepped in and, after fouling off three straight pitches, knocked a 1-2 offering through the left side of the infield to score both Trepanier and Lawson to make it a 4-0 game.
- There would be no drama in the bottom of the seventh, as Richardson retired the side in order on just nine pitches to finish out the victory.
Inside the Game
- Valpo clinched a winning weekend at the Aggie Invitational with the win over UC Davis, and will finish at least .500 in each of its four early-season tournaments.
- After earning two wins on Friday, Grossmann again picked up the victory in the circle against the Aggies on Saturday, as she scattered five hits over 4.1 innings of work and struck out five.
- Grossmann tallied three wins over a two-day span for the second time in her Crusader career, as she accomplished the feat in a three-game Horizon League sweep of Cleveland State last season. She is now 8-2 on the season and owns 28 career wins, already eighth-most in a career in Valpo program history despite this being just her second season in a Crusader uniform.
- Richardson earned her second save of the year, giving up just one hit and striking out three in 2.2 innings of work. Opponents are batting just .139 off the sophomore, while she continues to maintain a pace of nearly a strikeout per inning.
- The combined shutout was the first shutout shared by multiple Valpo pitchers since Grossmann closed out an Ashlyn Montgomery start in a 3-0 win over North Carolina A&T to open the 2017 season.
- Valpo’s pitching and defense held UC Davis without a hit with runners in scoring position, as the Aggies went 0-for-11 at the plate in those instances.
- After no Crusader posted a multi-hit effort in either of Friday’s wins, Valpo had three players pick up two hits apiece in Saturday’s victory – Lawson, Ramirez and Stauffenberg. For Ramirez, it was her first multi-hit game of the season.
Thoughts From Head Coach Kate Stake
“Today was one of our more complete wins of the season. UC Davis found ways to get on base to lead off the first four innings, but our pitching and defense were able to strand them each time. Offensively, I thought we did a good job figuring out a good pitcher and making adjustments after our first time through the order.”
Valpo (12-6) closes out the Aggie Invitational with two more games on Sunday afternoon, as the Crusaders take on Northern Colorado at 2:30 p.m. CT before rematching against the host Aggies at 5 p.m. Live stats will be available for both games, as well as video for the UC Davis contest.