The Valparaiso University softball team earned a split of the day’s action thanks to the big bats of senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) in the day’s finale in an 8-6 victory over SE Missouri State, as Trepanier delivered the game-winning hit in the seventh inning. The Crusaders dropped a 1-0 decision to a strong Belmont squad in the opener of the Leon Smith Classic from Oxford, Ala.
How It Happened – Belmont
- The Bruins would score the game’s lone run in the fifth inning, as a single, a sacrifice bunt and another base hit gave Belmont the only run it would need.
- The pitching duo of Mackenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) and Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) combined to strand nine Belmont runners on base, including six in scoring position.
- Offensively, the Crusaders had chances versus Belmont starter Ashley Johnson, putting runners on base in five of the seven innings. Three times, Valpo got a runner to third with two outs, but was never able to find the final 60 feet.
How It Happened – SE Missouri State
- After being held scoreless in each of their last two games, the Crusaders struck immediately at bat in the top of the first. Trepanier singled and stole second, while Stewart drew a one-out walk. After the duo advanced on a sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch plated Trepanier to make it 1-0 Valpo.
- Stewart eventually scored on a single from sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) as the Crusaders led 2-0 after the first inning.
- Valpo then looked to break the game open in the second inning. Freshman Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point), junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) and Trepanier tallied three consecutive singles to load the bases to kick off the second, and two batters later, Stewart connected on a grand slam to push the Crusader lead to 6-0.
- But SEMO would rally to tie the game, scoring two runs apiece in the third, fourth and fifth innings to make it a 6-6 ballgame.
- Trepanier delivered the game-winning blow in the top of the seventh inning, set up by a hit batter and a SEMO error earlier in the inning. The sophomore stepped to the plate with runners on first and second and two out, and drove a first-pitch double to the left-center gap to give Valpo an 8-6 advantage.
- The Crusaders had to hold off one final push from the Redhawks, as after getting the first two outs of the inning, a walk and a base hit put the potential tying runs on base. But Grossmann induced a grounder back to the circle to close out the victory.
Inside the Games
- Trepanier went 2-for-4 in the opener versus Belmont – the only Crusader to reach twice in that contest – and then went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs in the win over SEMO. The sophomore has now registered multiple hits in seven straight games for Valpo and is hitting a team-best .500.
- Trepanier also stole three bases over the two games.
- Stewart’s grand slam was the first of her career, pushing her team-high totals to five home runs and 18 RBIs.
- Matalin tallied the first two hits of her career in the win over SEMO, while junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) also picked up a pair of hits against the Redhawks.
- The 1-0 loss to Belmont followed a 1-0 defeat on Wednesday at #9/11 Alabama – the first time since Apr. 13-14, 2001 (both versus Western Illinois) that the Crusaders have dropped two straight games, both by 1-0 finals.
- Grossmann took the loss in the Belmont game, starting and surrendering just the one run in 5.2 innings of work. She then came back and earned the win in relief against SEMO, tossing three shutout innings to close out the game and finish the day at 3-3 on the year.
- Crusader pitching and defense combined to hold their two opponents to just 2-of-17 hitting with runners in scoring position on the day – two days after holding Alabama to 1-of-7 hitting in the same situations.
The Crusaders (7-4) continue play from Oxford on Saturday with a single game against Tennessee State at 1 p.m. Live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.