For the second straight day Valparaiso posted a doubleheader sweep of first place Southern Utah. The Crusaders defeated the Thunderbirds by scores of 4-3 and 6-2 at the Valparaiso University Softball Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Crusaders have now won four in a row and six of their last eight.
Valpo's bats struck immediately in the opener. Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids H.S.) led off the bottom of the first with a triple. Emily Tkaczyk (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) reached on a bunt single and Courtney LaFerle (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.) walked to load the bases. Stacy Adamski (Saint John, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) singled to left to score the first two, and LaFerle ended up scoring as well after a throwing error.
The Crusaders added a run in the third as Taylor Callahan (Grayson, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian H.S.) led off with a triple. After the bases were loaded, Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ont./John Redmond H.S.) plated Callahan with an RBI fielder's choice.
Kortney Hall cut Valpo's lead in half with a two-run double in the fourth for Southern Utah and Kristen Carmicheal added an RBI single in the seventh but the Thunderbirds could not plate the tying run.
Chris Halstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral H.S.) went the first four innings allowing two runs on four hits for the win before Brittany Atteberry (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) closed out the final three innings allowing just three hits and the run in the seventh. Carroll tallied two hits for the Brown and Gold in the win.
The series finale saw Carmicheal give Southern Utah (14-19-1, 11-5 Mid-Con) a lead in the opening inning with a two-out homerun. Valpo answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring a pair of unearned runs. Kelly Silvey (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard H.S.) added an RBI single in the second to extend the lead to 3-1.
The Crusaders then tallied three RBI doubles in the fifth. Carroll started the rally with one out and Callahan and LaFerle each added two-base hits with two outs as the lead grew to five. Ashley Christiansen hit a pinch-hit homer with two outs in the seventh for Southern Utah's final run.
Atteberry went six innings for the win, allowing six hits and striking out four.
Adamski finished the day 3-for-3 with three walks in the twin bill while Callahan and Carroll had three hits as well.
Valparaiso (7-28, 7-9) will continue their nine-game homestand on Tuesday afternoon with a doubleheader against Purdue. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.