The Crusaders pounded out 21 hits Thursday at the Rebel Spring Games in Orlando, Fla., downing La Salle and Robert Morris (Pa.) by identical scores of 7-4.
Valpo exploded in the third inning of their game against the Explorers, sending 10 batters to the plate and tallying six runs. With two on and one out, freshman Karen Korb
(Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) got the line started with an RBI single, setting the scene for Taylor Callahan's
(Pendergrass, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) two-run double. The next batter, Courtney LaFerle
(Elgin, Ill./Larkin) doubled Callahan home, and came in to score moments later on a Shannon Robinson
(Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond) base hit. Alicia Ashbun
(Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) capped the frame two batters later, driving home Robinson with a single.
(Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) took care of La Salle from there, pitching the final 3.2 innings and allowing only one hit, earning her first win of the season. Robinson, Ashburn and Megan Carroll
(Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) each had two hits for the Crusaders.
In the second game of the day, the Brown and Gold picked up their best win of the young season over Robert Morris, a 2005 NCAA Tournament participant and the defending Northeast Conference Champions.
The Colonials broke out on top, plating a run in the top of the second before Beth Adamski
(Saint John, Ind./Lake Central) tied it with an RBI in the bottom of the frame. Robert Morris struck back ahead in the top of the third, only to again see the Crusaders answer in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at two.
Valpo finally surged ahead in the fourth, when Ann Sievert
(Davenport, Iowa/Assumption) led off the inning with a walk, advanced to second on an Adamski sacrifice, stole third, and scored on a two-out Carroll single.
With the score still 3-2 in the Valpo half of the fifth, the Crusaders loaded the bases with one out, only to see Sievert line back to the pitcher for the second out of the inning. But pinch-hitter Bethany Boomer
(Allen Park, Mich./Allen Park) bailed out her teammate, drilling a bases-clearing double to put the game out of reach.
(Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) pitched the first four innings for her first victory of the year, while Zappia went the final three for her second save. Zappia's five career saves breaks Valpo's all-time record, set by Laura Pajakowski from 1986-89. Zappia has now appeared in all 10 Crusader games this season, and has struck out 33 in 27.1 innings while allowing just 13 hits.
Carroll also continued her strong early season, going 2-of-3 with an RBI, run scored and three stolen bases. Through 10 games, the junior is batting .543 with five doubles, 10 runs scored and eight steals in eight attempts.
The Crusaders (5-5) are back in action Friday at the Rebel Games, taking on Saint Joseph's (Pa.) at 7:50 a.m. before meeting Fairleigh Dickinson at 11:30 a.m.
Valpo-La Salle box score
Valpo-Robert Morris box score