March 02, 20121234567RHE
Iowa State30010307113
Win: McGEE (4-1) 5.2117632
Loss: TORRESCANO (4-5) 4.1119834
SLATER (ISU) 412100
VARELA (ISU) 212110
MILLER (ISU) 402100
Crusaders Swat Way To Win Over Iowa State
Friday, March 2, 2012
Crusaders Swat Way To Win Over Iowa State
Kelsey Phalen capped a three-hit day with a seventh-inning home run. (Dave Schofield)

Valparaiso earned its second victory of the season over Iowa State on Friday afternoon by putting together one of the best offensive outputs in program history, downing the Cyclones 16-7 in its opener at the UTEP Invitational in El Paso, Texas.

“We took a lot of good at-bats today up and down the lineup,” said Crusader head coach Jordan Stevens.  “We also did a very nice job responding to Iowa State’s threats.”

The Crusaders got the scoring started innocuously in the first inning, plating just a single run.  Senior Sara Strickland (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) reached on an error with two outs, stole second base and then came home on an RBI single from freshman Brittany Duncan (Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn) to open the scoring.  Iowa State came back with three in its half of the first to take a 3-1 lead.

But Valpo would claim the lead for good in the top of the second frame.  A leadoff single by senior Kelsey Phalen (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) quickly turned into a run, as redshirt sophomore Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) drove in Phalen with a first-pitch double into left.  Sophomore Amanda Wisniewski (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Huntley) then drew a walk, and the pair of sophomores advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt.

A wild pitch scored Marinec to tie the game at 3-3, and two batters later, Strickland came up with an infield single to plate Wisniewski and give Valpo the lead.  Duncan kept the inning alive with a single of her own and Rutkowski then registered her second double in the first two innings to score Strickland, capping a four-run frame which ended with the Crusaders owning a 5-3 lead.

The teams played scoreless softball until the Cyclones added a run in the fourth to cut their deficit in half.  But the Crusaders answered quickly with another four-spot in the fifth.  With the bases loaded and one out, sophomore Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) delivered a two-run double to push the lead to 7-4.  Strickland followed with a sacrifice fly to score freshman Lindsey Norway (Chicago, Ill./Chicago Christian), and Doerffler later scored on an illegal pitch, making it 9-4 Valpo after four and a half frames.

Wisniewski scored Phalen with an RBI double in the sixth to extend the lead to six runs, but Iowa State made a dent in the lead in its half of the sixth, scoring three times to cut the Crusader advantage to 10-7.  But Valpo capped one of its top-five offensive outputs in program history with a six-run seventh.  Doerffler walked and Strickland doubled to lead off the frame, both later scoring on an ISU error.  Rutkowski then smacked a two-run homer, her fourth in the last four games, and Phalen would cap the scoring later in the inning with a two-run inside-the-park round-tripper of her own.

All nine Crusader starters picked up at least one hit and scored at least one run on Friday.  Duncan, Phalen and Rutkowski all had three-hit days, while Phalen and Strickland scored three runs apiece.  Rutkowski drove in a team-best three runs.  Senior Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) improved to 4-1, earning the victory with 5.2 innings in the circle in her start, while senior Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) recorded the last four outs, striking out two.  Iowa State (4-10) starter Tori Torrescano took the loss, falling to 4-5 on the year.

Valparaiso (8-2) will look to extend its best start in program history on Saturday in a pair of games.  The Crusaders take on Brown at 3 p.m. before facing UTSA at 7:30 p.m.  Both games will have live stats available through