The Valparaiso University softball team dropped both ends of a relocated MVC doubleheader at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa Sunday afternoon to a first-place Drake squad, as the Crusaders were no-hit in a 4-0 loss in the opener and were edged in the nightcap, 2-1.
How It Happened – Game One
- Drake pitcher Nicole Newman, who entered the weekend leading the nation in strikeouts/7 inning and second nationally in ERA, was strong throughout. Newman tossed her second no-hitter in as many weekends and struck out 18 Crusaders.
- Senior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) broke up the potential perfect game by working a full-count walk with two outs in the seventh.
- Newman also made the difference with her bat, connecting on a three-run homer with two outs in the second to get the Bulldogs on the board. Kailee Smith added a solo homer in the sixth for the final margin.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Valpo had a strong threat in the top of the second, loading the bases with one out on a pair of walks and a Drake error, but back-to-back strikeouts kept the game scoreless.
- Drake loaded the bases with two outs in its half of the third on a single and two walks, but senior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) registered a big strikeout to keep the Bulldogs off the board.
- Valpo opened the scoring in the top of the fourth, as sophomore Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) was hit by a pitch while pinch-hitting with the bases loaded to score junior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno), who had opened the inning with a walk. The Crusaders were unable to add to their advantage, however, despite still having the bases loaded with just one out.
- Drake scored the decisive runs in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run single from Taryn Pena with the bases loaded and one out. A play at the plate and a strikeout limited the damage from the Bulldogs to just two runs in that frame.
- Valpo put the potential tying run aboard in the top of the seventh, as freshman Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) rapped a single back through the middle with two outs, but a strikeout would end the game.
Inside the Games
- The Crusaders were playing indoors for the first time since February of 2012, when the UNI Dome Tournament which Valpo was participating in was moved to Iowa State’s indoor facility. Ironically, Drake was Valpo’s final opponent in that tournament.
- Valpo was no-hit for the first time since Feb. 13, 2016 against St. John’s, while it was the first seven-inning no-hitter against the Crusaders since May 18, 2013 in the NCAA Tournament against California.
- Burke tallied two of the Crusaders’ three hits in the nightcap and is now 4-for-11 in three games since moving to the leadoff spot.
- Trepanier and freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) both drew a pair of walks in the second game as well.
- Junior Kelsie Packard (Beloit, Wis./Turner [Rock Valley College]) took the loss for Valpo in the opener, falling to 2-4 on the year as she went 5.1 innings in the start. Packard struck out seven Drake batters and has now struck out six or more batters in each of her last four starts.
- Grossmann fell to 10-8 on the year as she was tagged with the loss in the nightcap, despite surrendering just four hits and two runs in the complete-game effort.
Valpo (17-18, 4-9 MVC) returns home for 10 of its next 11 games, beginning with a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader at the Valpo Softball Complex against Loyola. First pitch of the twinbill is set for noon.