Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher)
and Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa Township) combined on a four-hit shutout in the
nightcap Wednesday in Fort Wayne, Ind., while Jessie
Marinec’s (Alsip, Ill./Marist)
solo homer to lead off the second was the only run in Valparaiso’s 1-0 victory over IPFW. The Mastodons got a walk-off double in the
opener to earn a 2-1 win.
“There were good pitching
performances by both teams today,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider. “Neither team was really able to hit the ball
well. I was a bit disappointed that we
weren’t able to lay down bunts when we had opportunities to move runners into
scoring position, and I thought we looked at too many pitches. I did think Alex pitched a very good game in
the second game and Shaleigh came in and slammed the door.”
Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) led off the day’s second game
with a triple, but was eventually cut down at home on an infield
groundball. But Marinec put the
Crusaders in front at the start of the second frame, driving a 1-0 pitch over
the scoreboard beyond the left-center field fence. Valpo would get just two other runners into
scoring position the rest of the way, one of them on a two-out triple by Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher)
in the seventh, but could not push another run across the plate.
But another tally was not
necessary as the duo of Lagesse and Jansen shut down the Mastodons. Lagesse scattered four hits through the first
four innings, with only a fourth-inning double putting an IPFW runner in
scoring position. She then retired the
final eight batters she faced, closing out a six-inning, four-hit, no-walk effort
to improve to 6-3. Jansen came in for
the seventh and retired the side in order, including a pair of strikeouts, for
her sixth save of the year, second-most in the nation.
Marinec extended her
team-best hitting streak to eight games with her round-tripper in the
nightcap. Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden), who entered the game ranked
seventh in the nation in batting average, went 2-for-2 in the second game,
while three other Crusaders also tallied hits.
Amanda Olender took the loss for IPFW in her five innings of work,
falling to 3-3.
The Mastodons put up the
first run in the opener with a pair of doubles, but Valpo knotted things up in
the top of the third. Tori Brown (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison)
led off the frame with a single and stole second. With two outs, Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union)
knocked a single into center field to score Brown. It looked like the Crusaders might take the
lead on a double by Rutkowski, but Ichiyama was gunned down at the plate to
keep the game tied at one.
Valpo would get just one
runner into scoring position the remainder of the game, a runner on second with
one out in the fourth, but back-to-back strikeouts ended that threat, starting
a stretch where the last 11 Crusaders to bat were retired in order. Sam
McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) kept the Mastodons off the scoreboard after
the opening frame until the seventh, when a one-out double with a runner on
first by Ava Hall gave IPFW (13-10) the walk-off victory.
McGee suffered her first
loss of the season, falling to 6-1 this year, but struck out seven Mastodon
hitters in her 6.1 innings of work.
Courtney Cronin went the distance for IPFW, striking out ten to improve
to 7-6. Ichiyama had a two-hit effort in
the opener for the Crusaders.
“I thought we should have
hit the ball a bit better today, but Cronin especially is a pretty decent
pitcher and pitched well against us,” said Schneider. “It was great to see the pitching
performances we got, to help keep us in two one-run ballgames.”
Valparaiso (16-7) returns to action with its home and
Horizon League openers this Saturday at the Valparaiso University Softball
Field against Green Bay. First pitch of the doubleheader is slated for
noon, with live stats available at www.valpoathletics.com.