Chris Halstead threw her first career shutout and Taylor Callahan came home with the only run of the game to give the Crusaders a 1-0 victory over IUPUI in the opener Friday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field. The Jaguars earned a split by virtue of a 2-1 win in the nightcap.
In the opener, the Crusaders put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh to plate the only run of the game. Callahan (Grayson, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian H.S.) reached on a fielding error by the shortstop, and Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ont./John Redmond H.S.) followed with a single up the middle to move Callahan to second. Emily Tkaczyk (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Mundelein) then hit a grounder to short, but the first baseman was unable to handle the throw and Callahan came all the way around to score the winning run.
The game was a pitchers' duel throughout, as Halstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) and IUPUI hurler Devan Craig put matching zeroes on the board through six innings. Halstead scattered five hits, walked nobody, and struck out four through her seven innings of work, while Craig allowed just one hit, an infield single by Callahan, prior to the seventh inning. Craig also had 2 hits for the Jaguars in the game.
The Jaguars jumped on top early in game two. Back-to-back singles by Craig and Blair Branson with one out in the second inning, followed by a Valpo throwing error, brought home the first run of the game for IUPUI.
Valpo bounced back in the bottom of the sixth, putting up one run of their own. Alicia Ashburn (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka H.S.) started the inning with a bunt single back to the circle. Following a sacrifice bunt, Ashburn stole third and came to the plate on a throwing error.
IUPUI put the game-winning run across the plate in the top of the seventh as Amanda Bowman reached after getting hit by a pitch and was plated on a double by Sarah Needy.
IUPUI starter Angelica Espinosa went the distance for the Jaguars, allowing four hits and walking none in seven innings of work. Brittany Atteberry (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) started in the circle for the Crusaders, going 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits. Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central H.S.) threw the final 1 1/3 innings for Valpo. Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids H.S.) went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Crusaders in the second game.
Valparaiso (9-38-1, 8-11 Mid-Con) and IUPUI (18-19, 8-6) will conclude their four-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader beginning at noon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.