The Valparaiso University softball team took to the field Tuesday for the final time before the start of Horizon League play, but dropped both ends of a road doubleheader at Central Michigan, 10-1 and 5-3.
Valpo jumped out on top in the nightcap Tuesday, loading the bases immediately with nobody out in the top of the first on a walk and two singles. CMU would record back-to-back outs, but junior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) drew a bases-loaded walk to score Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) and give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
CMU answered with a solo homer in its half of the first from CarolAnn Sexauer, but Valpo would score two in the third to reclaim the lead. With one out, sophomore Taylor Nadler (New Haven, Mo./St. Francis Borgia) singled, and two batters later, Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) connected on her first career home run to give the Crusaders a 3-1 advantage.
The Chippewas tied the game once again in their half of the third, however, thanks to back-to-back one-out run-scoring hits, and CMU would score in each of the next two frames as well to take the lead for good. Valpo put runners on first and third with two out in the fourth, and loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but couldn’t scratch across another run either time.
The Crusaders registered 10 hits in the nightcap, led by three base knocks from Nadler and two apiece by Trepanier and senior Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central). Valpo was just 3-of-13 with runners in scoring position in the loss. Mollie Lindeman (Hebron, Ind./Hebron [PNC]) took the loss in the circle, falling to 0-3, while Hanna Warren earned the win for CMU to improve to 4-5.
The Chippewas led start-to-finish in the opener, scoring in each of their four times at the plate. Valpo cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fourth, as two singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Sophomore Brenna Boyle (St. John, Ind./Andrean) worked a walk to score Ranieri and put the Crusaders on the board, but a ground-out left the bases loaded and CMU went on to the run-rule win.
Valpo picked up four hits in the opener, while CMU racked up 15 hits. Senior Taylor Weissenhofer (Orland Park, Ill./Lockport Township) took the loss for the Crusaders to fall to 2-4 on the year. For Central Michigan (13-12), Rachael Knapp earned the complete-game win to improve to 7-5.
Valparaiso (3-17) opens Horizon League play this weekend at Youngstown State. The three-game series kicks off with a single game from Youngstown, Ohio Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. CT. The game can be seen live on ESPN3, with links for the live video and stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.