Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Down Loyola, Advance in HL Championship
Sam McGee went the distance to earn her 17th win of the year Thursday. (Dave Schofield)
Sam McGee went the distance to earn her 17th win of the year Thursday. (Dave Schofield)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Second-seeded Valparaiso got a stellar complete-game outing in the circle from junior Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) in an elimination game Thursday afternoon at the 2011 Horizon League Softball Championship in Chicago, Ill., propelling the Crusaders to a 4-1 victory over top-seeded and host Loyola.  Valpo advances to take on fourth-seeded Cleveland State in an elimination game Friday morning at 11 a.m.

A pair of two-out singles by junior Sara Strickland (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) and senior KC Boldt (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) in the top of the first gave the Crusaders the first scoring threat of the game, but they could not capitalize.  It looked liked Loyola would then be first to crack the scoreboard, as Olivia Bell led off the bottom of the second with a ground-rule double and was sacrificed over to third with one out.  But on a squeeze attempt by Jacqueline Grim, senior Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) charged, fielded the bunt and flipped the ball with her glove to junior Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden), who applied the tag on Bell to keep the Ramblers off the board.

Valpo then plated all the offense it would need in the top of the third inning.  Freshman Amanda Wisniewski (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Huntley) led off the frame by fighting back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk.  After a sacrifice moved the freshman to second, fellow rookie Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) lined a single into left-center to put runners on the corners with one away.

Strickland followed by killing a bunt nicely right out in front of home plate, and with the Rambler defense concerned about the runner from third scoring, made it to first with a bunt single.  With the bases loaded, Boldt stepped in and dropped a single into shallow center, plating Wisniewski with the game's opening run.  After a fielder's choice forced Doerffler at the plate, making it two outs, Conner stepped up and delivered a liner into left-center, scoring both Boldt and Strickland to give Valpo a 3-0 lead.

The three-run lead would prove to be more than enough for McGee, who at one point from the second through the fifth inning retired 12 straight Rambler hitters, including six via the strikeout.  The Crusaders gave the junior another insurance run in the top of the sixth, as Conner led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. 

Freshman Amanda Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran) pinch-ran for the senior and promptly scored on the second pitch, as junior Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) laced a single just over Korb's head into left-center field to make it 4-0 Crusaders.  Loyola mounted a small threat in the seventh, as with runners on the corners and one out, a fielder's choice allowed Lauren Zaworski to score to erase the shutout.  But McGee stepped up and induced a pop-up out of Grim to close the victory.

McGee finished the game with eight strikeouts, improving to 17-6 on the year, in the process moving into a tie for second for single-season victories by a Crusader pitcher.  Brittany Gardner took the loss for Loyola (26-26), dropping to 14-14 after surrendering six hits and three runs in 2.2 innings of work.  Strickland paced the Valpo offense with three hits as the Crusaders totaled nine as a team to go with a trio of walks.

Valparaiso (33-20-1) takes to the field for its second elimination game of the tournament Friday morning at 11 a.m. against Cleveland State.  Live stats and live chat will both be available at www.valpoathletics.com, which will also have a link for the live HLN video stream.

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
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo