Valparaiso took advantage of five Centenary errors in the opening game of the doubleheader to score eight unearned runs on the way to a 9-4 win on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon at the Valparaiso Softball Field. The Ladies returned the favor in game two, converting four Crusader errors into five unearned runs on the way to a 6-1 win to split the twinbill.
In the opener, the Ladies scored in the opening inning on an RBI groundout by Megan Hall before Valpo plated three in the bottom of the inning. Monica Rowan (Evergreen Park, Ill./Evergreen Park H.S.) hit a fly ball to leftfield with the bases loaded that was dropped by Centenary, clearing the bases.
Centenary tied the game in the third as Hall tripled to right to score a pair of runs. The Crusaders retook the lead in the bottom of the frame as Bridgette Schwoegler (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) singled home Karen Constien (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North H.S.). Valpo added two in the fourth as Rowan singled to right center, plating a pair of unearned runs.
The Ladies made it 6-4 in the top of the fifth on a run scoring double by Lauren Koehn, but the Crusaders tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth. Rowan capped off a three RBI game with a sacrifice fly, and a throwing error allowed the two other runs to cross the plate.
Beth Adamski (St. John, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) went 3-for-4 at the plate for Valpo and Constien scored four times. Amanda Gilbertson (Murrieta, Calif./West Albany H.S., Ore.) earned the victory in the circle while Ashlee Blankenbaker (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) recorded her first career save.
For Centenary, Cathy Byrne started and took the loss. Hall had three RBIs in the game, while Jordan Lansdale went 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
In game two, Gilbertson and Centenary's Casi Hendricks matched zeros on the scoreboard for the first four innings. The Ladies broke through in the fifth, scoring on a throwing error, a sacrifice fly by Lindsey Jones, and a single by Koehn. The visitors added a run in the sixth on Lory Kowaleski's single before Valpo plated its only run of the game.
Constien doubled to left center with two outs in the sixth to score Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids H.S.). Centenary (33-26, 16-8 Mid-Con) added a pair of runs in the seventh on an error and a passed ball to make the final 6-1.
Koehn and Lansdale each had three hits for the Ladies in the win.
Valparaiso (18-28, 12-8) will return to action with a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon against Loyola (Ill.). The first game is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.