softball team split a pair of games on Sunday to end its time at the Tiger
Softball Classic in Nashville, Tenn,
dropping their opener to Indiana
State, 13-4, before
rallying for a 14-1 victory over Alabama A&M to close tournament play. Jennifer
and Sara Strickland
all earned All-Tournament Team accolades.
Alabama A&M struck
first in the nightcap with a run in the top of the first, but Strickland
singled to lead off the bottom of the first and eventually came around to score
the tying run. Valpo then plated five runs
in the second, highlighted by a 2-RBI double from Rutkowski, to pull away from
the Bulldogs, and then added one in the third and seven in the fourth for the
game’s final margin, as the game was shortened to four and a half innings due
to run rule.
Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) threw a complete-game three-hitter, giving up
just the unearned run in the first to improve to 2-0 this year. Janice Aleman took the loss for Alabama
A&M (2-5), falling to 1-2. Strickland
went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs for the Crusaders, while
Hermanson, Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher)
and Kelsey Phalen (Batavia,
Ill./Batavia) all also posted multi-hit
games. Rutkowski drove in three runs in
the winning effort as well.
The opener did not go as
well for the Crusaders, as they committed six errors in the run rule shortened
game. Indiana State (4-3) jumped out to
a 9-0 lead after three innings, but the Valpo offense opened up in the final
two frames, as Hermanson and fellow freshman Tori Brown (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison) each posted 2-RBI doubles in
the Crusaders’ four-run fourth inning.
Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa Township) fell to
1-2 on the year after taking the loss in the circle, giving up nine runs in 2.2
innings of work, only three of which were earned. Kristen Felker moved to 2-1 this year with
the win for Indiana
State. Rutkowski went 2-for-2 with two runs scored
to lead Valpo against the Sycamores.
“Today was not the best
day for us,” said Crusader head coach Randy
Schneider. “We made way too many
mistakes in the field against Indiana
State, but I give our
players credit for bouncing back to beat Alabama A&M handily. I’m happy with the way our offense is hitting
the ball right now, and I feel good about where our pitching is at as well. We just need to shore up our fielding to help
us get to where we want to go.”
Over the course of the
tournament’s two days, the Crusader trio on the All-Tournament Team all stood
out at the plate. Hermanson hit .400 for
Valpo with four RBIs, two runs scored and two doubles. Strickland stole four bases and hit.462,
scoring five runs as well. Rutkowski led
the way for the Crusader offense, going 7-for-13 (.538) with five runs scored,
four RBIs and three doubles.
Valparaiso (5-3) takes a day off Monday before moving on to
two days of competition at the Rebel Spring Games in Orlando, Fla. The Crusaders face Dayton (2 p.m. CST) and Holy Cross (4 p.m.)
on Tuesday afternoon.