The Valparaiso University softball team split its two games on Saturday from the Buccaneer Invitational in Charleston, S.C., falling to Eastern Kentucky, 16-3, before bouncing back with its second win over host Charleston Southern in as many days, 5-4.
How It Happened – Eastern Kentucky
- Valpo drew first blood against the Colonels on Saturday, plating a pair in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) led off the inning with a walk, and sophomore Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) promptly connected on her first homer of the year to make it 2-0 Crusaders.
- EKU registered a two-run homer of its own in the top of the third before the Crusaders reclaimed the lead in their half of the inning. Senior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) led off with an infield single and then swiped second as the pitcher turned her back. Junior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) continued her hot hitting with a run-scoring double to right as the Crusaders led 3-2.
- A pair of EKU homers accounted for four runs in the fourth inning as the Colonels took the lead for good, adding two more in the sixth and eight runs in the seventh.
How It Happened – Charleston Southern
- Three runs in the top of the first gave the Crusaders the lead for good against the Buccaneers. Junior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) was hit by the very first pitch of the game, and Lawson followed with a bunt single before Lawton roped a two-run double to left center. Later in the inning, senior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) drew a bases-loaded walk to score Lawton and make it 3-0.
- Each team plated a single run in the second inning. Sophomore Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) extended Valpo’s lead to four runs as she singled to open the top of the second and eventually scored on a wild pitch. CSU got the run back in the bottom of the frame courtesy of a Taylor Gleason triple and a Valpo error.
- The score remained 4-1 until the top of the fifth, when the Crusaders were able to add another tally to their ledger. Magnifico led off the inning with a double, and two batters later, Stauffenberg dropped down a bunt single to score the sophomore from third and make it 5-1. Again, however, the Buccaneers responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning.
- It became a one-run contest in the bottom of the sixth, as a leadoff single was followed by a two-run homer by Nina Del Rio to cut the advantage to 5-4. Senior pitcher Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) locked down with the minimal lead, however, striking out the next two batters before inducing a grounder to first to maintain the one-run edge.
- The game would end after six innings due to darkness, giving Valpo its second straight win over Charleston Southern as the Crusaders split on the day.
Inside the Games
- Lawton continued her hot hitting on Saturday, going 4-for-7 with three RBIs over the two games. The junior has already racked up 14 RBIs in the season’s first eight contests.
- Lawson recorded a stolen base in both games on Saturday and now has eight steals in as many attempts this year. The senior was also the lone Crusaders with a multi-hit game in the win over Charleston Southern, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- Burke and Magnifico joined Lawton with multi-hit games in the opener against EKU.
- Senior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) took the loss against the Colonels in the circle, falling to 1-2 on the year.
- Grossmann earned the complete-game win over Charleston Southern, striking out six batters. She is now 3-1 on the year.
Valpo (5-3) concludes action at the Buccaneer Invitational on Sunday afternoon with a noon scheduled first pitch against North Carolina Central.