Seniors Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) and Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) both broke program career records on Saturday as the Valparaiso softball team split a Horizon League doubleheader at Wright State. The Crusaders took the opener from the Raiders, 4-2, before falling 11-3 in the nightcap.
Marinec became Valpo’s career games played record-holder on Saturday, appearing in her 223rd game as a Crusader in the second game of the day to surpass the record previously held by Sara Strickland. Meanwhile, Doerffler tallied an assist defensively in the first game to match Joylyn Ichiyama’s career record in the category, and the senior then picked up an assist in the third inning of game two for her 429th career assist in the field.
Neither team could get much of anything going offensively in game one through the middle stages, as Valpo earned just one baserunner – via walk – through the first five innings. The Raiders had two on with nobody out in both the first and fifth innings and a runner on third with one away in the third, but all three times, sophomore Taylor Weissenhofer (Orland Park, Ill./Lockport Township) came up with big strikeouts to help keep WSU off the board.
The Crusaders finally broke the seal on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. Doerffler led off with a line-drive single into left for Valpo’s first hit of the day, and then advanced to second on a WSU error. Another miscue by the Raiders on a grounder from sophomore Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) brought Doerffler all the way around with the game’s first run, and later in the inning, freshman Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) dashed home on a bases-loaded groundout from junior Tarah McShane (Streamwood, Ill./St. Edward Central Catholic).
Wright State threatened again in the sixth, loading the bases on a single and two walks after two were out, but sophomore Mollie Lindeman (Hebron, Ind./Hebron [PNC]) came in out of the bullpen and got WSU’s Taylor Knore to strike out looking to end the threat.
Valpo added a pair of key insurance runs in the seventh, as after Ranieri was semi-intentionally walked to load the bases with two out, freshman Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) made the Raiders pay with a hard-hit single just inside the third-base bag, scoring a pair to make it 4-0 Valpo. The Raiders had one last threat in them, scoring two in the seventh and putting the potential tying runs into scoring position with two out, but Lindeman induced a fly-out to end the win.
Weissenhofer improved to 13-8 for the Crusaders in the winning effort, throwing 5.2 shutout innings and striking out nine WSU batters, while Lindeman registered her fourth save of the year – three of which have come in the last week. Krystian DeWitt fell to 8-11 with the complete-game loss for Wright State. Doerffler and Calombaris each tallied a pair of hits in the opener.
The Crusaders would never lead in the nightcap, as Wright State took the lead in its first turn at-bat on a solo homer from Libby Pfeffer. The Raiders scored two apiece in the second and third innings to go ahead 5-0, and while Valpo got on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by sophomore Janelle Bouchard (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk), WSU responded immediately with two runs in its half of the fourth. Valpo made it briefly a 7-3 game as Lawson scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Amanda Wisniewski (Skokie, Ill./Huntley) in the fifth, but the Raiders scored four in their half of the fifth to close out the run-rule decision.
The first of three Valpo pitchers, sophomore Sierra Pico (Las Vegas, Nev./Legacy) took the loss, falling to 4-12 on the year after throwing the first 2.2 innings. Montana Wear went the distance for Wright State (14-28, 9-6 Horizon) to improve to 6-16 on the season. Ranieri tallied a pair of hits in the nightcap to lead the Crusader offense.
Valparaiso (20-27, 10-5 Horizon) looks for the series victory on Sunday as the Crusaders and Raiders square off for the third and final time. First pitch from WSU is slated for noon CT.