Entering the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday night against South Dakota trailing by one run was no obstacle to coming out victorious for the Valparaiso University softball team, as the Crusaders strung together four straight singles – the last a walk-off base hit from junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) – to score a pair of runs and earn the 5-4 win over the Coyotes.
How It Happened
- Entering their final turn at the plate trailing by one, the Crusaders got the rally started right away, as sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) watched four pitches go by for a leadoff walk. Freshman Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) followed with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to move Lawton into scoring position with one out.
- Sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) wasted no time tying the game, taking the first pitch she saw the other way for a run-scoring single to plate Lawton and make it a 4-4 game.
- Classmates Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) delivered back-to-back singles back through the middle to load the bases, still with only one out.
- After falling behind in the count 0-2, Stauffenberg worked the count back even before lining a shot over the left fielder’s head to the base of the wall, easily more than enough to bring home Trepanier with the winning run.
- A two-run double for the Coyotes gave South Dakota a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, but Valpo answered with three in its half of the third. Magnifico, Trepanier and Calombaris rattled off three straight singles to start the inning and load the bases, and Stewart lined a two-run single down the left-field line to tie the game. Two batters later, a South Dakota error allowed Calombaris to score and give Valpo a 3-2 lead.
- South Dakota scored two runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead, but junior Mackenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) – who had entered out of the bullpen earlier in the inning – recorded a strikeout with two on and two out to limit the damage.
- A one-out single from Calombaris was the Crusaders’ only baserunner in their next two turns at bat, setting up the game-winning sequence in the bottom of the seventh.
Inside the Game
- The win was Valpo’s first of the season when trailing after a complete inning, and only its second of the year when trailing at any point during a game.
- The Crusaders have won just one game per year when trailing after six innings in each of the last three complete seasons. Valpo’s last victory when trailing after six innings came in last season’s Horizon League Championship title game.
- The top of the order led the way for the Crusaders on Saturday, as the first three batters in the order posted eight of Valpo’s 10 hits.
- Batting in the two spot, Calombaris was a perfect 3-for-3 on the game with a sacrifice bunt and a run scored. It was the senior’s first three-hit game since going 3-for-4 last season on May 7 at Wright State – the win which propelled the Crusaders into the league tournament.
- Trepanier continued her tremendous start to the year by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored in Saturday’s win, her third three-hit game this season and 10th multi-hit game in Valpo’s first 17 games.
- Stewart added a pair of hits and two RBIs as well, her seventh game this season with multiple RBIs.
- Both Stewart and Trepanier extended their on-base streaks to 17 straight games, as they have both reached at least once in every contest this season. Meanwhile, Trepanier extended her hitting streak to 16 games – matching Valpo’s longest hitting streak since at least 1999 (Taylor Callahan, 2007; Joylyn Ichiyama, 2013).
- Grossmann put together a strong effort out of the bullpen to earn the relief win, as she tossed 2.2 innings of one-hit shutout ball, striking out four batters to improve to 6-4 on the year.
- Junior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) started and surrendered four runs – three earned – in 4.1 innings of work.
The Crusaders (11-6) will conclude action at the Hawkeye Invitational on Sunday morning, as Valpo takes on South Dakota State at 11 a.m. Live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.