Valparaiso had its eight-game winning streak snapped Monday, as the Crusaders fell at Gardner-Webb by scores of 11-1 and 5-4. The winning streak ends as the second-longest such streak in program history.
The Crusaders struck first in the opener, as Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) led off the game with a double and came home on a Gardner-Webb error. But that was about it for the offense for Valpo, as the Bulldogs' Taryn Beck gave up just four hits. Carroll tallied two of the Crusader hits for her sixth multi-hit game of the season.
Starting pitcher Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) threw the first 2 1/3 innings for Valpo and took the loss, giving up three runs on five hits. Gardner-Webb scored seven runs in the third inning and four in the fourth to end the game after five innings of play.
The nightcap was a much tighter game, as both teams' offense came via the long ball. The Bulldogs put up single tallies in the second and third frames on solo home runs, while Valpo knotted up the game at two in the fourth inning with a two-run bomb from Courtney LaFerle (Elgin, Ill./Larkin).
The game was still tied 2-2 heading into the eighth inning when the International Tiebreak rule was applied, where each team starts the inning with a runner on second base. Valpo took advantage in the top half of the frame, as Bethany Boomer (Allen Park, Mich./Allen Park) laid down a bunt single to put runners on first and third with none out. Two batters later, Tracy Korth (Elgin, Ill./Larkin [Elgin C.C.]) singled to bring home LaFerle, while Boomer followed across the plate on a subsequent throwing error, giving the Crusaders a 4-2 lead.
But the Bulldogs responded emphatically in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Lindsey Whitfield singled to put runners on first and third. Melody Harrell followed with a three-run home run off of Zappia to give Gardner-Webb the sweep.
Chris Halstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) started the game and pitched the first three-plus innings for Valpo, while Zappia took the loss, moving her to 3-2 on the season. Six different Crusaders tallied hits in the nightcap, while Alicia Ashburn (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) drew three walks.
Valparaiso (9-5) will look to bounce back Tuesday, as the Crusaders head to East Tennessee State University. First pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 1 p.m. Central time.