Crusaders Swept at Western Illinois
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Ann Sievert (Davenport, Iowa/Assumption) hit the first home run of her career and freshman Ashley Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) went yard for the second time in as many games, but it was not enough as the Crusaders were swept Sunday at Western Illinois 4-2 and 6-4.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning of game one, Sievert took Kamren Ferguson out with one out in the third. The senior's first homer cut the lead in half before Wolter tied the game with one out in the fourth. Wolter's four home runs are the sixth-most in a single-season in school history, and one shy of the 2006 team lead held by Alicia Ashburn (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka).

The game stayed even until the last of the sixth, an inning that started innocently with a foul out and pop out. But starter Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) walked Meghan Strazar before three straight singles, pushing the Westerwinds to the 4-2 victory.

Valpo managed only five hits in game one, one each for the top five hitters in the batting order. Zappia took the loss to fall to 8-12 and Ferguson earned her 10th win of the year.

In game two, it was the Crusaders who scored in the opening frame when Sievert and Courtney LaFerle (Elgin, Ill./Larkin) led off with back-to-back doubles. After a bunt single put runners on the corners, LaFerle scooted home on a passed ball to make it 2-0.

Still 2-0 in the fourth, Valpo went back to work putting runners on second and third with two outs for Ashburn. The sophomore responded with a two-base hit picking up her 18th and 19th RBI of the season and moving the Brown and Gold in front by four.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Western Illinois started on the comeback trail. The hosts plated two runs on five hits in the frame, chasing starter Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) in the process. The hosts won the game in the sixth off Zappia, turning a Crusader error and four hits into four more runs.

The same two pitchers earned the decisions in game two, with Ferguson evening her record at 11-11 on the season.

LaFerle had three hits in the game for the Crusaders, who managed nine hits off Ferguson and starter Christine Drankiewicz. Wolter had two hits in game two and went 3-for-6 on the day, improving her conference only batting average to .400.

The Brown and Gold (19-29, 6-14 Mid-Con) will conclude the 2006 season next weekend with four games against UMKC. Doubleheader action on Friday is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. with Saturday's season-ending doubleheader set for 12:00 p.m. All four games can be heard live on 95.1 FM, WVUR, and online at

Game one box score
Game two box score