Valparaiso scored three times in the top of the eighth inning of the nightcap of a doubleheader Tuesday at Big Ten foe Purdue, earning a 4-1 extra-inning victory over the Boilermakers. Despite holding Purdue to just three hits in the opener, the Boilermakers scored a 3-0 victory as the two squads split the twinbill.
“This was a good day for us, coming away with a win against a Purdue team that’s among the best in the Big Ten and in the top-30 nationally in RPI,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider. “I thought we really did a good job re-focusing after a disappointing performance in the opening game and we put together all the elements in the second game for a win.”
Valpo hit the scoreboard first in the nightcap, putting a run across the plate in the top of the first frame. Leadoff hitter Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond) reached on an error and stole second base, her tenth steal of the season. With two outs, junior Ashley Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) ripped a double down the left-field line to put the Crusaders ahead 1-0. Purdue got the run back in the bottom of the third, tying the game on a one-out solo home run by Candace Curtis.
The Crusaders had a golden opportunity to go ahead in the top of the seventh inning, as Mallory Gill (Beloit, Wis./Memorial) led off with a single, followed by a two-base Purdue error to give Valpo runners on second and third with nobody out. But Jamie Weinburger (Eagle River, Alaska/Eagle River) was called out on a bang-bang play at the plate after a pitch initially got away from Purdue catcher Jenna Alexander, and the Boilermakers recorded two more outs to get out of the inning as the game went to extras.
Pinch-runner Lisa DeBruzzi (Carlisle, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) was placed on second base as the international tiebreaker rule was put into effect at the start of the eighth inning. Alicia Ashburn (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) promptly drove her in with a single up the middle to put the Crusaders ahead 2-1. Valpo would add two insurance runs later in the frame on a Purdue miscue, and Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) set down the Boilermakers in order in the bottom of the inning to close out the win.
Zappia registered all but one out to improve to 13-5 on the season, tied for the third-most wins in a single season in Valpo history. She allowed just one run on four hits and struck out six Purdue batters. Dana Alcocer took the loss for Purdue, falling to 16-8.
The Boilermakers got all the scoring they would need in the opener in the second inning. With one on and one out, Beth Cinadr hit a two-run homer to left-center field to give Purdue a 2-0 lead. The Boilermakers would go on to add an insurance run in the fourth on a trio of Crusader errors in the field. Valpo’s best chance to score in the game came in the top of the fifth, as it had two runners on base with nobody out, but a double play grounder was followed by a groundout to end the threat.
Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) fell to 5-4 on the year, taking the loss for Valpo. Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) entered in relief and threw four brilliant innings, giving up just one hit and an unearned run while striking out three Boilermakers. Alcocer registered the complete-game win for Purdue.
“I thought our pitching staff did a superb job today,” said Schneider. “To hold Purdue to just eight hits and four runs over two games when they came into the game batting .285 as a team is a good accomplishment.”
Robinson led the Crusaders at the plate on the day, going 3-for-6 over the twinbill with two runs scored. Ashburn and Gill each had multi-hit days as well.
Valparaiso (24-13) has a week off until its next doubleheader. The Crusaders will host Butler in a Horizon League twinbill at the Valparaiso University Softball Field on Tuesday, April 22. First pitch of the opener is slated for 2 p.m.