Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) pitched a gem, holding the Kangaroos hitless over the final five innings, and Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) jumpstarted the Crusader offense with two hits and three stolen bases as Valparaiso opened Mid-Con play with a 5-0 win over UMKC Friday in Kansas City, Mo.
Zappia gave up two singles in the opening inning, but struck out UMKC's Monica Canisales looking to end the frame. The Kangaroos led off the second frame with their third single of the game, but Zappia shut them down from that point onward, giving up just two walks the rest of the way. The junior pitcher struck out nine in the ballgame and earned her first shutout of the season, improving her record to 4-3 while lowering her league-best ERA to 1.63.
Korb got Valpo going in the top of the first with a one-out single, but the Crusaders could not push a run across in the frame, despite getting a runner to third with two outs. Valpo opened the scoring in the third inning, as Korb led off with a bunt single. Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario) followed with a single of her own before Courtney LaFerle (Elgin, Ill./Larkin) came through with an RBI double to bring Korb home. Later in the frame, pinch-runner Kayla Grutz (Bellevue, Iowa/Bellevue) and Taylor Callahan (Pendergrass, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) both came home on a wild pitch, giving the Crusaders a 3-0 lead.
Valpo pushed two more insurance runs across the plate in the seventh inning. Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) led off the frame with a single and came around to score on a UMKC error. Korb, who reached on that error, later crossed the plate on a passed ball by Christina Lemon for the game's final margin.
Korb was the only player on either team to register multiple hits on the day, and her three stolen bases increased her total to nine on the season, second-best in the Mid-Con, and 25 for her career, tying her for fourth place on Valpo's all-time chart. Samantha Hurst took the loss for UMKC (1-20, 0-1 Mid-Con), dropping her to 0-7 on the season. Hurst allowed four hits and three runs in 2.1 innings of work.
Valparaiso (11-6, 1-0 Mid-Con) resumes the three-game series with the Kangaroos on Saturday, as first pitch of the first game of the doubleheader is slated for noon.