The Valparaiso softball team split a pair of games Saturday at the Hatter Classic in DeLand, Fla. The Crusaders rallied for a 7-5 victory over Colgate in their opener before falling to host Stetson in the nightcap, 4-3.
Valpo fell behind 4-0 through three innings in the opener before rallying. Sophomore Tarah McShane (Streamwood, Ill./St. Edward Central Catholic) got the Crusaders on the board with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to slice the deficit in half.
Valpo then secured the winning margin with a five-run sixth inning. Redshirt junior Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) started the comeback with a sacrifice fly, and sophomore Lindsey Norway (Chicago, Ill./Chicago Christian) followed later in the inning with a two-run double which eluded the Colgate right fielder, giving the Crusaders a 5-4 lead.
Freshman Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) added a pair of insurance runs following Norway’s double, picking up a two-RBI two-bagger of her own to push the edge to 7-4. With the bases loaded and one out, a wild pitch brought home a run for Colgate to cut Valpo’s lead to 7-5, but following an intentional walk, freshman Taylor Weissenhofer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township) induced a foul-out to complete the victory.
Freshman Sierra Pico (North Las Vegas, Nev./Legacy) earned the win in relief for the Crusaders, throwing three innings of one-run ball while striking out four. Weissenhofer picked up her second save in as many days, registering all three outs in the seventh. Brigit Ieuter took the loss for Colgate (0-3), falling to 0-2 after allowing all seven runs in 5.1 innings of work. Ranieri went 3-for-4 to lead the Crusader offensive effort, while McShane and sophomore Brittany Duncan (Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn) each had multi-hit games as well.
The nightcap was a pitcher’s duel between Weissenhofer and Stetson starter Meredith Owen for the first four and a half innings, as Valpo tallied just two hits and Stetson none during that time frame. But with the hosts batting in the bottom of the fifth, a single and two walks loaded the bases for Owen, who connected on a grand slam to give Stetson a 4-0 lead.
The Crusaders would attempt to rally for their second come-from-behind victory of the day, as freshman Janelle Bouchard (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) brought home a pair of unearned runs with a two-out single in the sixth. Back-to-back doubles to lead off the seventh from juniors Amanda Wisniewski (Skokie, Ill./Huntley) and Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) made it a 4-3 game, but Valpo could not push the tying run across the plate.
Weissenhofer suffered the loss for Valpo to fall to 5-3 despite striking out nine in her 5.2 innings in the circle, while Owen improved to 9-2 with the complete-game win for Stetson (11-6). Doerffler and Wisniewski each had a pair of hits to lead Valpo in the losing effort.
Valparaiso (9-7) closes out the Hatter Classic with a rematch against host Stetson on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. CT. Live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.