Brooke Benson hit a two-run, two-out homerun in the top of the seventh in the opener and Becky Sullivan threw a no-hitter in game two as Western Illinois swept a doubleheader from Valparaiso 6-4 and 8-0 on Friday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.
In the opener, the Westerwinds got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the top of the third on a double by Cassandra Hallstrom. Valpo cut the lead in half in the second when Amy Mitchell (Star, Idaho/Eagle H.S.) singled to lead off the inning. Stephanie Reinke (Parker, Colo./J.K. Mullen H.S.) reached on a bunt single and advanced all the way to third on throwing errors by the third basemen and first basemen.
The Crusaders tied the game in the fourth when Reinke reached on a fielding error to plate Ali Bultman (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.). Valpo then took the lead in the fifth with four straight singles with two outs. Kelly Silvey (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard H.S.) singled home Corey Burns (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg H.S.) and Mitchell singled to plate Bultman.
Western Illinois tied the game in the sixth on an RBI double by Katie Pickens and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jessica Stanforth. Benson's homer on the first pitch in the seventh scored the two runs that provided the final margin of victory for the Westerwinds.
Sullivan came on in relief of Lindsay Tasker to record the win while Amanda Gilbertson (Murrieta, Calif./West Albany H.S., Ore.) went the distance for Valpo in the losing effort. Bultman, Silvey, and Mitchell all had two hits for the Brown and Gold, while Benson and Sarah Fleischmann had two hits a piece for the visitors.
In game two it was all Sullivan. She struck out four and walked just two in her no-hit effort. The Westerwinds scored in every inning off of Brittany Atteberry (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) beginning with three in the first.
Jennifer Tyrell went 3-for-4 for the Westerwinds at the plate, while Hallstrom was 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Hannah Tull and Sammi Smith added two hits each.
Valpo (7-29, 3-10 Mid-Con) and Western Illinois (23-23, 7-7) will wrap-up their four-game series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at noon. The games will be the final home contests of the season for the Crusaders, and Senior Day activities will begin at approximately 11:40 a.m.