Valparaiso took early leads in both ends of a doubleheader Thursday afternoon against #18/25 DePaul in Chicago, Ill., but the Blue Demons rallied for victories in both games, taking the opener, 6-2, and the nightcap, 8-2. Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) stole three bases on the day, tying Valpo’s single-season stolen bases record with 21 on the year.
The Crusaders kicked off the scoring in the top of the first inning in the opener. Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) led off the game with a walk and proceeded to steal second and third base. With one out, Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond) laid a squeeze bunt down the third-base line, and Korb slid in under the tag at home. The Blue Demons got the run back in the bottom of the inning, however, on an Amber Patton RBI single.
DePaul added two more tallies to its score in the bottom of the third frame. The Blue Demons loaded the bases with two outs for pitcher Lindsey Frankiewicz, who came through with a 2-RBI single into center field to put DePaul ahead 3-1. The Blue Demons scored three more runs in the fourth inning, as Amber Patton notched an RBI single and Jackie Tarulli-Fisher added a 2-RBI single to make it 6-1.
The Crusaders put another run on the board in the fifth inning to cut DePaul’s advantage to 6-2. Mallory Gill (Beloit, Wis./Memorial) led off the frame getting hit by a pitch and eventually came home on a wild pitch to move Valpo back within four. But that was as close as Valpo would get, as DePaul did not allow another runner in scoring position the rest of the game.
Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) fell to 9-4 on the year as she took the loss for the Crusaders, going five innings and striking out five DePaul hitters, leaving her just three K’s shy of Valpo’s career strikeouts mark. Frankiewicz improved to 8-3 for the Blue Demons, allowing just one hit in her six innings of work.
In the nightcap, Valpo put both of its runs on the board in the opening frame. Tracy Korth (Elgin, Ill./Larkin [Elgin C.C.]) struck out with one away, but reached first on a wild pitch, and Robinson followed with a walk. One out later, both runners moved up on a passed ball, and Courtney LaFerle (Elgin, Ill./Larkin) came through with a single up the middle to plate both runs.
DePaul tied the game up in the bottom of the second, as Marie Thompson tallied an RBI double and another run came home on a passed ball. The Blue Demons took the lead for good in the third on an RBI single by Thompson, and put four insurance runs on the board in the fourth inning to put the game away.
Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) took the loss in relief in the nightcap, falling to 1-3 on the year. Becca Heteniak moved to 11-5 this season with the complete-game victory for DePaul (22-10).
Valparaiso (17-11) returns to Horizon League action when it hosts Loyola this weekend in a three-game series at the Valparaiso University Softball Field. The Crusaders and Ramblers will begin the set with a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.