Freshman pitcher Taylor Weissenhofer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township) struck out the first nine batters she faced on Monday en route to a three-hit shutout, while the Valparaiso offense scored in four of its six at-bats in a 5-0 Horizon League victory over Wright State at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.
"I was very pleased with our pitching and defensive efforts today," said Crusader head coach Jordan Stevens. "Offensively, we did a nice job of manufacturing runs."
Weissenhofer was dominant early in the shutout effort, retiring the entire lineup via strikeout the first time through the order. In all, the rookie struck out 12 batters and carried a perfect game into the fifth inning, settling for a three-hitter. The only big threat Weissenhofer faced came in the fifth, when she walked back-to-back batters with two outs to load the bases, but the freshman caught pinch-hitter Kristi Boreing looking at strike three to escape the jam. Weissenhofer, who is now 8-6 on the season, pushed her season strikeout total to 105, already eighth-most in a single season in Crusader history.
Valpo scored the only run it would need to win in the bottom of the second, as sophomore Tarah McShane (Streamwood, Ill./St. Edward Central Catholic) doubled and scored on a two-out error by the Raiders. The Crusaders added another tally in the third, as the top of the order performed their jobs perfectly. Freshman Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) worked a leadoff walk, and junior Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) moved her over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Fifth-year senior Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union) then knocked a single back through the circle to score Ranieri and make it 2-0 Crusaders.
Valpo pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fourth, courtesy of a two-out rally. Senior Tori Brown (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison) picked up a two-out single, and junior Amanda Wisniewski (Skokie, Ill./Huntley) took advantage by driving her in with an RBI double to the left-center gap. The Crusaders capped the scoring with two more runs in the fifth, as McShane's second double of the game scored Ichiyama and freshman Janelle Bouchard (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) plated redshirt junior Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) with an RBI groundout.
Krystian DeWitt took the complete-game loss for Wright State (5-20, 2-2 Horizon), falling to 3-9 despite surrendering just two earned runs. Ichiyama and McShane each had a pair of hits to lead the Crusaders' eight-hit attack, while sophomore Brittany Duncan (Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn) also reached base twice as well.
Valparaiso (16-12, 3-1 Horizon) looks to win its second straight league series on Tuesday as the Crusaders take on the Raiders in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Live stats for both games will be available through ValpoAthletics.com.