Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Fall to Butler in HL Championship Opener
Sara Strickland picked up a pair of hits against Butler. (Ray Acevedo)
Sara Strickland picked up a pair of hits against Butler. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Second-seeded Valparaiso dropped its first contest in the 2011 Horizon League Championship Thursday afternoon in Chicago, Ill. to third-seeded Butler by a 3-1 score.  The Crusaders will turn around immediately and play an elimination game against host Loyola.

Butler threatened to crack the scoreboard in each of the first three innings.  The Bulldogs loaded the bases with two outs in the first and with one out in the second, but each time Crusader starter Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) induced pop-ups to end the threats.  Then in the third, Butler had runners on second and third with one out, but third baseman Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) laid out to snag a grounder, holding the runner on third while recording the out at first.  Lagesse then struck out Kayla Gray to end that threat.

The Crusaders got a runner on via walk in each of the first three innings, but couldn’t hit the scoreboard either.  Butler finally snapped the scoreless tie in the fourth frame, as Erin Jackson reached on an infield single with one out.  Meaghan Sullivan followed with a grounder to short that found its way between the legs of the Crusader shortstop and rolled all the way to the fence, allowing Jackson to cross the plate with an unearned tally.

The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fifth, as Jessica Huey led off with a single and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Jenny Esparza.  Gray followed with a two-out single and Mallory Winters lined a double to the wall to plate Gray and make it 3-0 Butler.

Valpo got one run back in its half of the fifth in its best scoring chance of the ballgame to that point.  Lagesse led off the inning with a single into center field, and pinch-runner Amanda Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran) moved over to second on a one-out walk to senior Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher).  A groundout moved each runner up 60 feet, and then with two away, junior Sara Strickland (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) lined a single into left field to score Korb.  Jacobson was sent home on the play as well, but a nice throw home from the Bulldog left fielder nailed her at the plate to keep it a 3-1 game.

Valpo kept Butler from adding to its lead in the sixth and seventh, as the Bulldogs stranded a pair of runners in each contest, while a two-out walk in the sixth for the Crusaders went for naught.  Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Valpo put together one final threat.  Lagesse was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and two batters later Jacobson reached on a bunt single to put the potential tying run on base.  Two batters later, an infield single by Strickland loaded the bases with two outs, but a strikeout ended the game in the Bulldogs’ favor.

Lagesse took the loss, falling to 12-12 after giving up three runs in her 4.2 innings of work.  Junior Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless ball in relief.  Esparza improved to 16-8 with the complete-game victory for Butler (30-22).

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