Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Split Opening Pair at Rebel Spring Games
Stephanie Kelly registered a career-high 13 strikeouts in the opener Wednesday. (Ray Acevedo)
Stephanie Kelly registered a career-high 13 strikeouts in the opener Wednesday. (Ray Acevedo)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Behind a complete-game shutout with 13 strikeouts from Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield), the Valparaiso softball team earned a 4-0 victory in its opener at the Rebel Spring Games in Orlando, Fla. over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.  In the nightcap, the Crusaders led before giving up five runs in the seventh inning, falling to Niagara 7-4.

The Crusaders earned all the offense they would need against the Bonnies in the opening inning.  Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran) led off the game with a single and stole second base.  Two batters later, Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union) hit a long fly to center field that Korb tagged up from second base and came all the way around to score on.  Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) followed with a walk and steal of her own, and Whitney Warner (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) plated the freshman with an RBI single.

Valpo added two more insurance tallies in the seventh inning.  With one out, Korb singled and stole second, followed by an RBI single from Ashley Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) to make it 3-0 Valpo.  Two batters later, Rutkowski came through with an RBI double for the game’s final run.

The rest of the game was all Kelly, as she set a new career high with her 13 K’s while scattering just four hits on the game to improve to 1-1.  St. Bonaventure’s best threat came in the sixth, when the Bonnies placed runners on second and third with one out, but Kelly got both Ashley and Amanda Kotz to strike out swinging to erase the threat.

Korb led Valpo at the dish, going 3-for-4 with three steals and two runs scored.  Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) also registered two hits for the Crusaders.  Sherri Thompson took the complete-game loss for St. Bonaventure.

“This was one of the best-pitched games of Steph’s career,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider.  “It was great to see her bounce back from a rough outing and pick up 13 strikeouts against a nice St. Bonaventure team.  We did some really nice things offensively as well, and played a solid defensive game also.  It was just a well-played all-around game.”

Valpo also got on top early in its matchup with Niagara, as Jacobson delivered a sacrifice fly to score Rutkowski in the bottom of the second.  The Purple Eagles pulled ahead with two runs in their half of the third, but the Crusaders responded with two of their own in the third, as Wolter drove in one and scored the other.

Ichiyama registered an RBI single of her own in the fifth inning to score Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) and make it 4-2 Valpo going into the seventh.  But Niagara put up five runs in the seventh, taking advantage of three hits, two walks and a pair of Crusader errors to earn the victory.

“We played six great innings of softball, but the rough seventh inning cost us,” said Schneider.  “During the early-season games is the time to make mistakes and learn from them and hopefully continue to get better.  We’ve played 19 good innings out of 21 so far, but we just have to learn to close the door in the late innings with a lead.”

Jacobson got tagged with the loss in the circle, her first decision of the year, after going 6+ innings and allowing six runs, three of which were earned.  Michelle Krier earned the win for Niagara with six innings of five-hit softball, while Julie DiMatteo pitched a scoreless seventh for the save.

Korb registered two hits in the nightcap as well, giving her five hits on the day.  The Crusaders also stole four bases on five attempts against the Purple Eagles.

“Karen really had a stellar day for us, with five hits, four steals and three runs scored,” said Schneider.  “She has done a great job so far this year getting our offense going from the leadoff spot.”

Valparaiso (1-2) continues play at the Rebel Spring Games on Thursday with two more games.  The Crusaders will take on Holy Cross at 8 a.m. CST before facing Fairfield at 10 a.m.
M Track DePauw Invitational Greencastle, Ind.
Apr 5 9th/11 (28.33)
W Track DePauw Invitational Greencastle, Ind.
Apr 5 8th/10 (29)
W Track Stanford Invitational Stanford, Calif.
Apr 5 No Team Score
M Track Stanford Invitational Stanford, Calif.
Apr 5 No Team Score
Baseball Wright State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 5 Valpo 3
Softball Detroit 0 VU Softball Field
Apr 5 Valpo 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Green Bay, Wis.
Apr 5 Green Bay 6
Baseball Wright State 0 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 5 Valpo 2
Softball Detroit 0 VU Softball Field
Apr 5 Valpo 9
W Tennis Valpo 5 Green Bay, Wis.
Apr 5 Green Bay 2
W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 6 4th/12 (311)
W Tennis Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 6 Milwaukee 7
Softball Detroit 0 VU Softball Field
Apr 6 Valpo 8
Baseball Wright State 4 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 6 Valpo 2
W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 7 9th/12 (642)
Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo