Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Win Two at Hatter Classic Friday
Sam McGee tossed a complete-game five hitter, striking out seven, against Charleston Southern. (Ray Acevedo)
Sam McGee tossed a complete-game five hitter, striking out seven, against Charleston Southern. (Ray Acevedo)

Friday, February 25, 2011

A pair of solid pitching performances and the home run ball helped the Valparaiso softball team to a pair of wins to open play at the Hatter Classic in DeLand, Fla. on Friday.  The Crusaders opened play with a 4-1 win over Charleston Southern before defeating host Stetson by a count of 5-2.

“Playing outside for the first time this year wasn't an issue for us today,” said Crusader head coach Jordan Stevens.  “Coming in, we were a little concerned because practice got canceled yesterday and we hadn't fielded a ball off of dirt in six months or seen a ball hit high in six months.  But it turned out to be a total non-factor for us.”

Junior Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) shut down the Buccaneers in the opener, scattering five hits and allowing just one unearned run in the complete-game win to improve to 2-0.  McGee struck out 7 CSU hitters while walking just one.  Then, against the Hatters, fellow junior Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) went the distance to go to 2-1 on the season.  Lagesse allowed just six hits in her complete-game victory, striking out four batters along the way.

“Even when teams got runners on base today, we felt that Sam and Alex both had control of their games,” said Stevens.  “We never got nervous that it might be the start of a rally for our opponents, because both of them had command from inning one.  It was a comfortable feeling today, because both Sam and Alex had good stuff and threw really good games.”

The Crusaders got the scoring started against Charleston Southern in the bottom of the third inning.  Sophomore Jennifer Hermanson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) got on base with one out on a single to right field, and then junior Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) followed with a two-run homer to left-center, her third round-tripper of the year.

One inning later, senior KC Boldt (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) led off the frame with a single back through the circle and promptly scored on the next pitch, as sophomore Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) delivered a triple to deep center.  Marinec crossed the plate herself on a wild pitch to close the Crusaders’ scoring.  A two-out rally by Charleston Southern in the sixth inning plated its lone run on a single and a double, but McGee squelched out any semblance of a threat with a strikeout to close the inning.

Hermanson and Marinec both picked up a pair of hits against the Lady Bucs to lead the Valpo offense.  Charleston Southern (3-8) had five different players tally its five hits, while starting pitcher Morgan Dowdy took the loss to fall to 2-4 after surrendering all four runs in her four innings of work.

Against the host Hatters, Valpo struck first in the top of the second, scoring the game’s first run on back-to-back doubles by Boldt and Marinec, the latter’s coming on a 0-2 pitch.  Stetson had an opportunity to put up a crooked number in the bottom half of the inning, loading the bases with nobody out, but Lagesse induced a 6-4-3 double play ball and then racked up one of her four K’s to get out of the inning with the score tied at 1-1.

Then junior Sara Strickland (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) took over offensively.  Strickland led off the top of the third with a solo homer to left field, her first longball of the year.  Two innings later, freshman Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) singled with one out to get back to the top of the order.  Strickland followed by taking the first pitch and depositing it in nearly the same spot beyond the left-field fence for a two-run home run, her first career multi-homer game.  Later that same inning, Rutkowski connected on a solo shot on a full count, giving her home runs in three straight games.

“Sara made a nice adjustment in her approach at the plate from game one to game two with similar pitchers,” said Stevens.  “It’s all about taking quality swings and swinging at good pitches.  If we can continue to do that throughout our lineup, our offense will be in good shape.”

Strickland added an infield single in the seventh to close out a 3-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI game, leading the Crusader offense from the top of the order.  Stetson (4-6) got two hits from Rachel Lowe, while relief pitcher Courtney Gunby took the loss, surrendering four runs in 5.2 innings of action to fall to 2-3 on the season.

Valparaiso (4-2) continues play at the Hatter Classic on Saturday afternoon with a pair of games.  The Crusaders face off against 2010 NCAA Tournament participant Bethune-Cookman at 12:30 p.m. CST before taking on Stetson again at 5:30 p.m.  Links for live stats for both games will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.

W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
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
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. Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M 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 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
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W 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
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M 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