Valparaiso struck right away Saturday, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning and rolling to a 6-1 victory over IUPUI in the final game of a three-game series at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.
Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) jump-started the Crusader offense with a one-out bunt single in the opening frame, and Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond) followed with a single of her own. After a wild pitch advanced both runners, Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) hit a grounder through the legs of Jaguar shortstop Meaghan Raynes to bring home both runners.
IUPUI received an RBI double in the third inning from Mia Ettl to cut the deficit in half, but Valpo responded in the bottom of the fourth frame. With two outs, Tracy Korth (Elgin, Ill./Larkin [Elgin C.C.]) beat out an infield single and advanced to third when Alicia Ashburn's (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) liner was misplayed by IUPUI center fielder Sarah Needy.
Ashley Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) took full advantage, driving in both Crusaders with a single into right field and giving Valpo a 4-1 lead. Valpo added a couple of insurance tallies in the fifth inning, getting an RBI single from Robinson and an RBI double from Whitney Warner (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) to extend the advantage to 6-1 for the final score.
Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) earned her second victory in as many games, improving to 8-4 on the season. The sophomore started the game and went five innings, giving up just five hits and one run while striking out five batters. Breanna Howell took the loss for IUPUI (8-21, 1-5 Mid-Con), falling to 5-10 after allowing eight hits and six runs, three earned, in 4 1/3 innings.
Robinson paced the Crusader offense on the day, registering hits in each of her three at-bats and scoring two runs. Taylor Callahan (Pendergrass, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) recorded two doubles, while Warner also had two base hits on the day.
Valparaiso (19-10, 6-3 Mid-Con) steps out of conference for a doubleheader on Monday versus IPFW. First pitch of the first game from the Valparaiso University Softball Field is scheduled for 3 p.m.