Valparaiso posted its first doubleheader sweep of the season on Friday afternoon as the Crusaders defeated first place Southern Utah 6-4 and 3-2 at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.
The Crusaders never trailed on the afternoon, jumping in front with two runs in the second inning of game one. Courtney LaFerle (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.) led off with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Thunderbird throwing error. Kelly Silvey (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard H.S.) plated the second run of the inning with a triple to leftfield, scoring Alicia Ashburn (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka H.S.).
Tiffany Burt answered with a solo homerun in the third to cut the deficit in half, but Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ont./John Redmond H.S.) had an RBI single in the third to put Valpo back in front by two. Southern Utah plated a run on a ground out in the fourth to cut Valpo's lead to 3-2, but a two-run fifth extended the lead. With one out, Taylor Callahan (Grayson, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian H.S.) doubled and LaFerle followed with a triple. Robinson doubled to left to plate the second run and chase starting pitcher Amy Sauer from the circle.
Southern Utah added an RBI ground out in the sixth before Valpo added an insurance tally in the bottom of the inning. The Thunderbirds threatened in the seventh, scoring a run but Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central H.S.) came on to record the final three outs for the save.
Brittany Atteberry (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) went six innings allowing eight hits and striking out two for the win for the Brown and Gold in the opener as the Crusaders tallied seven extra-base hits offensively.
Valpo went in front in the opening inning of game two, loading the bases with nobody and LaFerle driving in a run with a fielder's choice. Burt tied the game with her second homer of the day in the third, but the Crusaders answered in the bottom half of the inning. Callahan doubled and LaFerle plated her with a single.
Chris Hallstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) went 5 2/3 innings allowing just three hits but loaded the bases in the sixth. Zappia came on and forced a double play to end the threat. The Crusaders added an insurance run they would need in the bottom of the inning as Stacy Adamski (Saint John, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) doubled home her sister Beth Adamski (Saint John, Ind./Lake Central H.S.). Southern Utah added a run in the seventh and left the bases loaded as Zappia got a pop-up to end the game and record her second save of the day.
Valparaiso (5-28, 5-9 Mid-Con) and Southern Utah (14-17-1, 11-3) will conclude their four-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader beginning at noon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.