Valparaiso (13-22, 2-14 MVC)
Game #36 - Friday, April 19 - 2 p.m.
Games #37-38 - Saturday, April 20 - noon DH
vs. Indiana State (14-27, 2-14 MVC) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Softball: Coming off of a thrilling mid-week win, Valpo continues its five-game homestand this weekend as in-state rival Indiana State makes its first-ever trip to the Valpo Softball Complex. The series has been adjusted to feature one game on Friday afternoon and a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.
Previously: Valpo rebounded from a three-game sweep at the hands of UNI last weekend with a walk-off victory over Western Michigan in mid-week non-conference action on Wednesday, 4-3. Valpo trailed by a 3-1 score entering the bottom of the seventh before plating three runs, capped by a walk-off two-run single from Carly Trepanier.
Looking Ahead: Valpo’s five-game homestand ends next Wednesday with a single game against Loyola. The Brown and Gold then hit the road for their final road MVC series next weekend, heading to Evansville.
Following Valpo Softball: All three games this weekend will have live audio broadcasts available on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Live stats for all three games will also be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Kate Stake: Kate Stake was hired as head coach of the Valparaiso softball program on July 23, 2014 and is in her fifth season as head coach in 2019. Stake, who is 102-138 at Valpo, led the Crusaders to the 2016 Horizon League Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament - the third in program history. Stake arrived at Valpo with eight seasons of assistant coaching experience at the Division I level, most recently serving as an assistant at mid-major power Hofstra. She played her collegiate softball at fellow MVC member Illinois State and is a 2005 graduate of ISU.
Series Notes: Valpo is 3-11 all-time against Indiana State, but has never hosted the Sycamores in Valparaiso. Last year, the two teams met for the first time since 2010. The Sycamores captured all three games of the MVC series in Terre Haute by final scores of 1-0, 7-4 and 2-0, but Valpo exacted a measure of revenge at the MVC Tournament, earning a 3-2 victory to end the Sycamores’ season. Carly Trepanier hit a team-best .357 with two doubles and a homer over last season’s four meetings.
Scouting the Opposition: The Sycamores enter the weekend at 14-27 overall and 2-14 in MVC play, most recently dropping a three-game series to Southern Illinois last weekend. Indiana State is led offensively by junior Leslie Sims, who is hitting .376 with 37 runs scored and has stolen 25 bases in 27 attempts this year. In the circle, junior Gabbi Schnaiter has thrown a team-high 103 innings and is 7-12 with a 3.40 ERA.
Valpo Picked Sixth in Preseason Poll: Valpo was tabbed to finish in sixth position in the MVC preseason poll, as voted on by the conference’s head coaches. Valpo tallied 53 points in the polling to finish in sixth position, just five points behind Illinois State for fifth place. Drake topped the poll with 99 points, including nine first-place votes.
Looking Back at 2018: Valpo made an immediate impact in its transition to the Missouri Valley Conference in 2018. Despite the move to the MVC, which concluded the 2018 season 12th in the nation in conference RPI - a 16-spot jump from the Horizon League the previous year - the Crusaders posted a 27-24 record and improved on their team RPI by 67 spots from the previous season. After being picked ninth in the preseason poll, Valpo earned a fourth-place regular season finish and advanced to the MVC Tournament semifinals. Valpo boasted the MVC Newcomer of the Year and a Second Team All-Conference honoree in Kelsie Packard.
Look at the Ratings: Valpo’s front end of the MVC slate was loaded, as the four MVC teams which currently reside in the top-100 in the RPI accounted for the Crusaders’ first four Valley weekend series. In Monday’s NCAA RPI release, Valpo came in at 173, while as a conference, the MVC boasted four top-100 teams and ranked 11th - one spot higher than its 12th-place finish a year ago. For comparison, the Horizon League was 28th in 2017 in Valpo’s final season as a league member. In fact, Valpo has already played 16 games this year against top-100 RPI teams, 11 of which have come in MVC play - compared to 13 such games in its final two years in the Horizon League combined, none of which were league games.
Walk-Off Wednesday: Fans at the Valpo Softball Complex Wednesday were sent home happy thanks to a three-run bottom of the 7th from the homestanding Crusaders, rallying from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Western Michigan, 4-3 as Jaina Westphal delivered an RBI single and Carly Trepanier connected on a two-run walk-off single. It was Valpo’s first walk-off win since a 2-1 victory over Bradley last season on April 28, and was the first time the Crusaders rallied to win when trailing through six innings since April 14, 2017, when Valpo overcame a 3-0 deficit entering the seventh inning at Cleveland State in an eventual 4-3, eight-inning victory.
Anderson Doubles Her Tally: Sophomore Brittany Anderson entered last week with two home runs this season, but doubled her season total over the course of the week. Anderson went deep to lead off the second inning in the nightcap at Loyola last Tuesday, giving Valpo a 1-0 lead, and then hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 3rd in the series finale at UNI on Sunday to give Valpo a 3-0 lead in that game.
Trepanier Moves Up the Charts: Senior Carly Trepanier will have her name plastered all over Valpo’s career record book when her time as a Crusader comes to a close. Trepanier currently ranks fourth in program history in triples (10), sixth in hits (184), seventh in total bases (256), seventh in on-base percentage (.391), ninth in batting average (.317), 10th in stolen bases (28) and tied for 10th in walks (59). She is just one triple away from a tie for second place in that category, one total base shy of moving into sixth position, and one stolen base from eighth position. Meanwhile, Trepanier is also just three runs away from that top-10 chart as well.
It Takes Three (or Fewer): It seems overly simplistic, but limiting opponents’ run production has been the key to Valpo’s wins this season. Valpo is 12-1 this season when its opponent has scored three runs or fewer, including five shutouts. Meanwhile, the Crusaders are 1-21 when their opponent scores four or more runs. The only anomalies have come over the last couple weeks - a 9-6 win at UIC April 3, and a 1-0 loss in the nightcap of the Drake twinbill April 6.