Crusaders Split with IUPUI in Mid-Con Opener
Friday, April 2, 2004
Valparaiso opened Mid-Continent Conference play on Friday afternoon with a doubleheader split against IUPUI in Indianapolis. The Crusaders won the opener 5-3 but the Jaguars rebounded for an 8-0 victory in the nightcap.

Game one saw the hosts jump on the scoreboard first in the second inning scoring a pair of unearned runs following a Crusader error. Valpo got one run back in the fourth as Monica Rowan (Evergreen Park, Ill./Evergreen Park H.S.) drove home Taylor Callahan (Grayson, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian School) with a single.

The Crusaders took the lead in the fifth with three runs, as Karen Constien (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North H.S.) drove home one with a single and Rowan plated the other two with a triple down the rightfield line.

IUPUI closed its deficit to one, 4-3, in the sixth with another unearned run, but Callahan added an insurance tally for the Crusaders in the seventh with an inside-the-park homerun with one out. Callahan finished the game with two hits and three runs scored, while Rowan and Tricia Speziale (Elmhurst, Ill./York H.S.) each had multi-hit games as well.

Ashlee Blankenbaker (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) allowed just three hits and three unearned runs in five innings of work to record the win and improve her record to 3-5. Brittany Atteberry (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) went the final 1 2/3 innings to record her first save. Devan Craig surrendered ten hits while taking the loss for IUPUI.

In the nightcap the Jaguars plated five runs in the opening inning, taking advantage of four Crusader errors in the frame. IUPUI tallied just two hits in the inning. IUPUI added single runs in the second, third, and fifth to secure the victory as Angelica Espinosa surrendered just four hits in the five inning complete game.

Whitnle Darvell went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored for the Jaguars, while Sarah Needy added two hits and two RBIs. Atteberry suffered the loss for the Crusaders to fall to 1-5. Valpo committed six errors in the game.

Valparaiso (6-14, 1-1 Mid-Con) and IUPUI (11-12, 4-2) will conclude their four-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon with another twinbill in Indianapolis. The first pitch in game one is scheduled for 11 a.m. CST.