Western Illinois spoiled Valparaiso's home opener on Friday afternoon as the Westerwinds swept a Mid-Continent conference doubleheader from the Crusaders 1-0 and 2-0 at the Valparaiso University Softball Field in the Crusaders' home opener.
Western Illinois' Erin Zeller provided the lone offense in the opener, hitting a lead-off homerun in the sixth inning. Valpo had several chances in the game, putting runners on second and third with one out in the third and stranding a pair of runners in both the fourth and fifth.
Emily Tkaczyk (Hawthron Woods, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) had a pair of hits in the opener for the Brown and Gold while Lindsey Hession tallied a pair for Western Illinois.
Chris Halstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) was the tough-luck loser, striking out four and allowing just four hits in the complete game effort. Karenmarie Pena went the distance for the Westerwinds, striking out eight in the victory.
In the nightcap, Sarah Fleischmann singled to center with two outs in the first to drive home Jessica Stanforth to put Western Illinois in front. The Westerwinds tacked on an insurance run in the third as Fleischmann again singled home Stanforth, who also had two hits in the game.
Pena recorded her second win of the day, going five innings while allowing just three hits. Christine Drankiewicz recorded the save, pitching a scoreless sixth. The game was called after six innings due to darkness. Brittany Atteberry (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) started the second game for Valpo and went 3 1/3 innings striking out four. Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central H.S.) pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids H.S.) had one hit in each game for the Crusaders as she pushed her average to a team-leading .311.
Valparaiso (0-21, 0-6 Mid-Con) and Western Illinois (11-12, 2-0) will conclude their four-game weekend series on Saturday with another doubleheader beginning at noon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.