Propelled by a fifth-inning grand slam from junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland), the Valparaiso University softball team opened a key Horizon League series at Detroit Mercy Friday afternoon with a 9-3 victory over the Titans.
How It Happened
- Valpo opened the scoring immediately in the top of the first, plating a single run as senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) reached on a fielder’s choice and eventually came around to score.
- Freshman Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) extended the Crusaders’ lead to 2-0 in the second, as she singled with one out before scoring late in the inning.
- Detroit Mercy looked poised to perhaps take the lead in the bottom of the fourth, as the Titans strung together four straight singles to lead off the frame, scoring one run. But with the bases still loaded and nobody out, Calombaris scooped a grounder and skillfully turned a 5-3 double play to erase the lead runner and keep the Crusader lead. Another groundout ended the frame with Valpo still ahead by a single run.
- With momentum coming out of the stop on defense the previous half inning, the Crusaders pulled away in the top of the fifth. Junior Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) led off the inning with a pinch-hit single, followed by a base knock from sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno).
- Two batters later, senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) drew a walk to load the bases, and junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) knocked a run-scoring single through the left side to make it a 3-1 game.
- Then, with two out, Callaghan stepped up and drilled the first pitch she saw over the fence in right-center for a grand slam, extending the lead to six runs.
- Detroit Mercy cut its deficit to 7-3 with a two-run homer from Savvy Ferstle in the bottom of the sixth, but the Crusaders got the pair of runs back in the top of the seventh, drawing five walks in a two-run frame.
- Junior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) retired the Titans in order in the bottom of the seventh to close out the win.
Inside the Game
- Callaghan’s grand slam was the second of her career, following one versus Wright State in last year’s Horizon League Championship.
- The junior has now hit six home runs this season, second-most on the team. She picked up five total RBIs in Friday’s win to set a new single-game high.
- Valpo scored its nine runs in Friday’s win on just six hits. The Crusaders also drew seven walks in the victory to tie their single-game high this season.
- Stewart reached base three times (one hit, two walks) and scored a pair of runs as well.
- Grossmann earned the complete-game win, striking out five while scattering eight hits to improve to 16-7 on the season. Her 16 victories are tied for sixth-most in a single season in program history.
- The Crusader defense turned a pair of double plays behind Grossmann on Friday, giving Valpo 21 twin killings on the season. The Crusaders now rank 11th in the nation in double plays/game.
The Crusaders (23-15, 10-6 Horizon) close out the three-game series against the Titans with a doubleheader on Saturday in Detroit. First pitch of game one is slated for 11 a.m. CT, and live stats for both games will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.