Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Rally From Deficit to Complete Sweep of YSU
Jordan Rutkowski hit two homers and drove in five runs Sunday. (Ray Acevedo)
Jordan Rutkowski hit two homers and drove in five runs Sunday. (Ray Acevedo)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A three-run home run by Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden), her second of the game, in the bottom of the sixth inning completed Valparaiso’s rally from a five-run deficit, and the sophomore eventually drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth to score Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) with the game-winning run as the Crusaders completed a three-game sweep of Youngstown State with a 9-8 victory Sunday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.

The Penguins jumped on top right away Sunday, as Haley Thomas led off the game for YSU with a solo homer down the right-field line.  But the Crusaders came back with a tally of their own in the bottom half of the first.  Strickland and Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union) led off the Crusaders’ first at-bat with back-to-back singles.  A fielder’s choice off the bat of Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) erased Ichiyama from the basepaths, but with runners on first and third, Valpo successfully pulled off a double steal as Strickland crossed the plate to tie the game.

Youngstown State put three runs on the scoreboard in the third when Kristen Philen picked up an RBI single and two other Penguin runners scored on errors.  Valpo got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when Strickland led off with a triple and Ichiyama drove her in with an RBI single, but a three-run homer by Jordan Ingalls in the fourth inning gave the Penguins a 7-2 advantage through three-and-a-half innings.

The Crusaders continued to chip away with single tallies, as Jennifer Hermanson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) connected on a pinch-hit solo homer to lead off the bottom of the fourth and Rutkowski went yard with nobody on and one out in the fifth, cutting the deficit to 7-4 through five innings.  Thomas scored on a Valpo error in the top of the sixth, though, pushing the YSU lead back to four runs.

The first two Crusaders went down in order in the bottom of the sixth, but Strickland got the rally going with a two-strike swinging bunt placed perfectly to the right of the second baseman, easily beating the throw for an infield single.  Ichiyama then hit a slow roller towards second base, and Strickland slid in underneath the tag attempt to keep the inning alive.

Marinec drove the first pitch she saw into center field for an RBI single, scoring Strickland.  Then Rutkowski stepped up and, on a 2-1 pitch, drove a pitch far over the left-center field wall, clearing the scoreboard and nearly reaching the tennis courts to tie the game at 8-8.  The round-tripper was the 39th for the Crusaders as a team this season, surpassing last season’s team record of 38.

Neither team could get a runner into scoring position in the seventh, sending the game in extra innings, and the Penguins went down in order in the top of the eighth.  In the Valpo half of the eighth, Strickland continued swinging a hot bat, drilling a double to the right-center gap.  Ichiyama followed with a single down the left-field line, advancing to second with the YSU defense concerned about Strickland on third.  Marinec got intentionally walked to set up a force play at any base with nobody out, but Rutkowski never had to take the bat off her shoulder, taking five pitches, four of which were balls for the walk-off walk.

Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) started the game in the circle for Valpo, tossing 2.2 innings.  Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa Township) threw 1.2 innings of relief, and then Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) finished the game with 3.2 innings of work, giving up just two hits and one unearned run while striking out four to improve to 14-4 this year.  Cheryl Cale took the loss for Youngstown State (14-34, 6-15 Horizon), falling to 8-17 after starting, coming out and then re-entering, throwing a total of 4.2 innings and allowing seven runs.

A number of Crusaders had stellar days at the plate.  Rutkowski went 2-for-3 with two walks and five RBIs, while Ichiyama had her first career four-hit day at the plate, going 4-for-5.  Strickland also registered her first career four-hit day, going 4-for-5 as well while scoring four runs as well, the second time in her career she has crossed the plate four times.  The sophomore also set Valpo’s individual single-season total bases record, ending the day with 93 to break Ashley Wolter’s record of 87 set last year, one day after breaking the single-season hits record.

“I was happy we got the win today to complete a three-game sweep, but I was disappointed in the way we played,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider.  “But it was good for us to win the way we did, having to come from behind, and will be good experience for us heading into these next couple weeks.  I thought Sara really continued swinging the bat really well, thought Joy hit the ball well today also, and it was nice to see Jordon’s bat come back with a pair of big homeruns.”

Valparaiso (32-16, 12-6 Horizon) enters the final weekend of Horizon League play tied for second place with UIC and Wright State, and will head to regular season champion Cleveland State next weekend for its final regular-season series.  The series starts with a Saturday doubleheader at noon CDT, with live chat available for both games at www.valpoathletics.com.

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
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
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 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
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
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
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo