The Valparaiso University softball team opened its spring break trip at the Lopes Up Classic in Phoenix, Ariz. with a pair of one-run games on Saturday. The Crusaders opened tournament play with an 8-7 victory in nine innings over South Dakota, but fell in their second game of the day to UNLV by a 2-1 final.
How It Happened – South Dakota
- The Coyotes tagged the scoreboard first with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, but the Crusaders answered in the bottom of the second courtesy of a solo homer by senior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) – her second home run of the season.
- A solo homer in the top of the fourth gave South Dakota a short-lived 2-1 advantage. Senior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) entered with two on and two out to get a key out in the circle and keep the deficit at one run.
- The Crusaders plated three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) led off with a single and eventually came around to score on a base hit from sophomore Hannah Dybalski (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon). Dybalski and Callaghan would then both score on a two-run triple by junior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) to make it a 4-2 Valpo lead.
- South Dakota sliced one run off the advantage in the fifth, and then threatened for a big inning in the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out. But the Coyotes would score just one run to tie the game at 4-4, as senior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a run-scoring groundout.
- Both sides had golden opportunities to claim the win in the seventh, as South Dakota loaded the bases with one out and Valpo had runners on second and third with one away. But neither team could score, sending the game into extra innings, where the international tiebreak (runner on second with nobody out) was invoked.
- South Dakota got a two-run single from Jamie Holscher in the top of the eighth, but the Crusaders responded in their half of the frame, as sophomore Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) brought home one run with a triple and then scampered home thanks to an error on a failed squeeze attempt for the tying run.
- The Coyotes plated their runner on second in the top of the ninth as well to make it a 7-6 game.
- With one out and Dybalski as the runner placed on second, senior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) and junior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) notched back-to-back singles to plate Dybalski and tie the game.
- Two batters later, Burke stepped in and knocked a 2-2 pitch the opposite way to score Lawson for the walk-off victory.
How It Happened – UNLV
- The Rebels scored their only runs of the game just three batters in, as Justine Federe connected on a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning.
- Montgomery and sophomore Emily Richardson (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) combined to keep UNLV off the board after the first, with Richardson retiring all five batters she faced after entering in relief in the fifth inning.
- Valpo cut UNLV’s lead in half in the top of the second thanks to a two-out run-scoring single by senior Brenna Boyle (St. John, Ind./Andrean), which scored senior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) – who had singled to lead off the frame.
- Back-to-back walks in the fifth put a Crusader runner in scoring position for the first time in the second inning, but an elongated battle resulted in a strikeout to eliminate that Valpo threat.
- Boyle gave Valpo hope for the tying run in the top of the seventh with a one-out double on an 0-2 pitch, but the runner was left stranded at second following a strikeout and a flyout.
Inside the Games
- The Crusaders have won at least one game on each of their days of competition so far this season.
- Grossmann picked up the win in the opener out of the bullpen with four innings of relief work, improving to 4-1 on the season.
- Burke, Dybalski and Trepanier all picked up two hits in the opener – Burke now has four multi-hit games through just 11 outings as a rookie.
- Callaghan and Dybalski also scored two runs apiece in the win over South Dakota.
- Lawson extended her on-base streak to 10 consecutive games with a hit in the opener against the Coyotes and by drawing a walk later in the day versus UNLV.
- Both Boyle and Stauffenberg finished with two hits against UNLV, but those would be Valpo’s only hits, as the Crusaders ended the game with just four base knocks.
- It marked Boyle’s first multi-hit game since going 2-for-3 at Notre Dame on April 20, 2016.
- Montgomery took the tough-luck loss against the Rebels despite giving up just one earned run, as she fell to 1-3 on the season.
Valpo (7-4) continues play from Phoenix with two more games on Sunday. The Crusaders will face Princeton at 10 a.m. CT before a rematch with UNLV awaits at 2 p.m. Both games will have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.