Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Fall Twice at Notre Dame
Karen Korb connected on her first career home run Thursday. (Ray Acevedo)
Karen Korb connected on her first career home run Thursday. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Valparaiso had its highest scoring output against Notre Dame in 24 years Thursday at Melissa Cook Stadium in Notre Dame, Ind., but it was not enough, as the Fighting Irish took the nightcap by a 17-9 score.  The Crusaders dropped the opener to the Irish as well, 11-0.

Sophomore Lisa DeBruzzi (Carlisle, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) got the Crusaders on the board in the nightcap with an RBI double in the top of the second, but Valpo found itself down 9-1 after two innings.  The Crusaders started posting crooked numbers on the scoreboard in the third, as with one out, senior Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran) connected to straightaway center field for her first career home run.  Freshman Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) followed with a double, and fellow rookie Kelsey Phalen (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) drove her in with a two-run shot to right center to cut the deficit to 9-4.

The Fighting Irish responded immediately, as a three-run homer by Christine Lux capped a five-run frame and put Notre Dame ahead 14-4 after three innings.  But another crooked number was in store for the Crusaders, as Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) and Katie Williams (Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech [Kishwaukee C.C.]) led off the fourth with back-to-back singles.  Two batters later, Korb laid down a perfectly-placed squeeze bunt, and pinch-runner Aubrey Sundling (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) beat the throw home for Valpo’s fourth run of the game.

Korb proceeded to stole second, putting two runners in scoring position for Strickland, and the freshman took full advantage, knocking a single through the right side of the infield to plate Korb and pinch-runner Jenna Campos (Mt. Prospect, Ill./Prospect).  Strickland moved up to second on a foul-out, stole third and eventually came across the plate on the front end of a double steal attempt to bring Valpo back to within 14-8.

The Irish scored a pair of unearned tallies in the bottom of the fourth to increase its lead to eight runs, but Valpo was not finished pushing runs across the plate either.  Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) led off the fifth with a walk, and DeBruzzi and Conner followed with free passes of their own to load the bases with nobody out. 

After a pitching change by Notre Dame, Williams hit a ground ball to shortstop that drove in Rutkowski and kept the bases loaded.  But two strikeouts and a fielder’s choice prevented the Crusaders from scoring any more runs, and Notre Dame got a tally in the bottom of the fifth to end the game via run-rule.

Strickland led the Crusaders at the plate during the nightcap, going 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Korb and Phalen each drove in a pair of runs as well.  Katie Fleury and Heather Johnson registered three hits apiece for Notre Dame, while Lux connected on two home runs and drove in five runs.

Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa Township) took the loss in the circle for the Crusaders, allowing four earned runs in her 1.1 innings of work to fall to 1-3.  Jody Valdivia earned the victory for the Irish, improving to 10-5, despite allowing nine runs in four innings pitched.

“We are trying to get better every game, and to look at it positively, we put up nine runs on Notre Dame in the second game,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider.  “That was a good thing, and something we will try to build off of heading into our league series this weekend at Youngstown."

Notre Dame won the opener in six innings, with a first-inning single by Strickland the only hit for the Crusaders.  The Irish got the only run they would need on a double steal in the second inning and eventually ended the game on a grand slam by Dani Miller.  Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) fell to 6-5 in the circle, allowing four earned runs in 3.1 innings, while Bargar improved to 14-8 with the complete-game effort for Notre Dame (24-13).

"I thought Steph pitched decent in the first game, but two or three innings we gave Notre Dame four and five outs,” said Schneider.  “Our defense simply needs to be better, especially simple parts of the game that the players have been doing for years, we weren't doing today.  To some extent that happened in the second game as well, because whenever you give up 17 runs, you're leaving pitches in the zone and your defense isn't performing."

Valparaiso (18-15) returns to Horizon League play on Friday, as the Crusaders travel to Youngstown, Ohio to take on the Penguins of Youngstown State.  Game one of the three-game series is set for 4 p.m. CDT Friday afternoon, and all the action can be heard live on www.sportsjuice.com.  Live stats will also be available at www.valpoathletics.com.
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
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
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
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
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
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
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 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
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
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
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana