(Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) launched her team-leading fifth home run of the season in the eighth inning of game two Tuesday at Saint Joseph's, helping the Crusaders to a 3-1 win after dropping the opener 3-2 in Rensselaer, Ind.
Ashburn's five home runs are half of the team's total this year, and match Gina Rhode's
1985 total for the fourth-most in a single-season at Valpo. The sophomore, who did not go deep in 100 at bats as a freshman, is four long balls shy of Karen Constien's
school-record 2004 total.
With the score tied after regulation in game two, Ashburn kicked off the extra inning with her leadoff homer in the eighth. The Crusaders got an insurance run later in the frame when Karen Korb
(Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) stole second after a one-out single and Taylor Callahan
(Pendergrass, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) drove Korb in with a base hit up the middle.
After four scoreless innings from Stephanie Kelly
(Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield), the Crusaders got on the board in the fifth. After a pair of strikeouts to lead off the frame, Bethany Boomer
(Allen Park, Mich./Allen Park) singled through the infield and raced home on a Mallory Gill
(Beloit, Wis./Memorial) double to the left-centerfield gap.
(Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) tossed 2.2 hitless innings of relief and earned the win, improving to 6-9, after Kelly allowed only a fifth inning run in her 5.1 innings of work. Ashley Heatwole took the loss for Saint Joseph's.
In game one, the Crusaders struck quickly off starter Jesse Privett. Ashburn singled with one out, stole second, and scored on another RBI single from Callahan in the top half of the first inning.
But in the bottom of the third the hosts took command, scoring three times off starter Chris Halstead
(Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral), who had her scoreless streak snapped at 16.2 innings. Michelle Hammons, Privett and Jill Kapitan had RBI hits in the inning, as Saint Joseph's scored three times on six hits.
Valpo scored one more in the fourth when a single from Korb brought Beth Adamksi
(Saint John, Ind./Lake Central) in from second base. The Crusaders had a great opportunity to tie the game in the sixth, but Korb flied out with two on and two outs, and Privett retired the side in order in the seventh.
Halstead (6-5) suffered the loss, while Privett (4-2) earned the win for the Pumas (21-13). Callahan finished the day with three hits, two RBI and two stolen bases for the Crusaders, who also got three hits from Gill and three steals from Korb.
Valpo (16-21) is on the road again Thursday at IPFW before returning to Mid-Con play Friday and Saturday afternoon. Thursday's doubleheader with the Mastodons is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.
Game one box score
Game two box score