Freshman pitcher Alex Lagesse (Beecher,
Ill./Beecher) threw Valparaiso’s
first no-hitter since April 16, 2007, while fellow freshman Kelsey Phalen (Batavia,
connected for two home runs as the Crusaders cruised to a 12-0 victory over
Bryant in its opener Monday at the Rebel Spring Games. Senior Stephanie
Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) tossed a three-hitter
in the nightcap as Valpo completed the sweep with a 1-0 win over Sacred Heart.
Lagesse dominated the Bulldog
hitters Monday, giving up just two walks, neither of which advanced past first
base. Only two balls were even hit to
the outfield by Bryant in the run-rule shortened game. The freshman, who lowered her ERA on the
season to 0.45 and improved to 2-0 with the complete-game no-hitter, tossed the
first no-no since Kelly and Carrie
Franson (Arlington, Wis./Poynette) combined to blank IPFW at
home during the middle of the 2007 campaign.
Phalen connected for two home
runs in Valpo’s big fourth inning, when the Crusaders put eight runs on the
scoreboard en route to the run-rule victory.
The freshman led off the frame with a solo shot and later tallied a
two-run bomb with two outs to cap the scoring.
She also connected for an RBI single in the first inning in her first
collegiate start, contributing to three first-inning runs, which would be all
the scoring Valpo would need for the win.
“We were all obviously really
excited about Alex pitching the no-hitter to open the day today,” said Crusader
head coach Randy Schneider. “Kelsey, also as a freshman, did a great job
in her first start offensively, hitting the two home runs in the same
inning. It was just an overall very well-played
ballgame by our team in all facets of the game.”
Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran)
joined Phalen with three hits in the opener, while Sara Strickland (Phoenix,
Ariz./Horizon) walked three
times, stole three bases and scored three runs.
Ashley Wolter (Denver,
Iowa/Denver) went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the win, while KC Boldt (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing)
contributed a pinch-hit two-run double in the big fourth inning. Stephanie Barrett took the loss for Bryant in
Kelly was nearly as sharp in
the nightcap against Sacred Heart, giving up just three hits and three walks
while not letting a Pioneer baserunner past second base. The senior improved to 2-2 on the season with
the win, striking out six in her second shutout at the Rebel Spring Games.
“Steph pitched a stellar
game,” said Schneider. “She did a great
job working herself out of a couple jams.
Whitney Warner (Greenwood, Ind./Center
Grove) did a great job behind the plate calling pitches. She has shown early on the ability to work
well with Steph in figuring out her strengths.”
The lone run of the game
would score immediately in the bottom of the first inning. Korb led off the game with a single and
proceeded to steal second base. After
Strickland walked, Korb took off for third on a steal attempt and came all the
way around to score on an overthrow by the Sacred Heart catcher.
Korb went 2-for-3 in the
nightcap, improving her team-best batting average through 11 games to
.500. The senior has also scored 13 runs
on the season and is a perfect 12-for-12 on the basepaths. Jen Russell took the tough-luck loss for the
Pioneers, allowing just five hits and the one run in a complete-game effort.
“Russell was one of the best
pitchers we’ve seen so far, so we knew we were in for a tighter ballgame,” said
Schneider. “Karen did a fantastic job
using her speed after getting on base out of the leadoff spot to score the run
that was the difference in the ballgame.
We need to get better at getting key hits when we have runners in position
to score, but I was very pleased with our pitching and defense. We made a conscious decision a few days ago
to really focus on those aspects for the rest of the trip to help us get on the
winning track, and it’s certainly paying off so far.”
Valparaiso (7-4) will look to extend its four-game winning
streak on Tuesday morning with two more games in Orlando.
The Crusaders will take on La Salle at 8 a.m. CST before facing South Dakota at 10 a.m.