Crusaders Earn Doubleheader Split with Purdue
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
For the first time since 1985, the Valparaiso softball team defeated Purdue, winning the opening game of the doubleheader 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon in West Lafayette, Ind. The Boilermakers took the nightcap 8-0.

The Crusaders had lost 14 straight against Purdue before Amanda Gilbertson (Murrieta, Calif./West Albany H.S., Ore.) threw a complete game shutout to snap Valpo's five game losing skid overall.

Tricia Speziale (Elmhurst, Ill./York H.S.) delivered the big hit in the game, a two-run double in the top of the first, plating freshmen Carlene Grecco (Carmel, Ind./Carmel H.S.) and Beth Adamski (St. John, Ind./Lake Central H.S.).

From there it turned into a pitching dual, with Purdue's best scoring chance coming in the seventh when the Boilermakers loaded the bases with two outs, but Gilbertson ended the game with her fifth strike out of the game.

Adamski and Grecco each finished with two hits for the Crusaders in the opener while Katie Absher went 3-for-4 at the plate for Purdue.

Gilbertson improved her record to 2-3 on the season, while Diana LaRiva fell to 8-8 with the loss, despite striking out seven in five innings of work.

In the nightcap, Lauren Devich homered in the second to put Purdue on the scoreboard, and the Boilermakers exploded for four more runs in the third. Devich doubled and a Valpo error then allowed to more runs, both unearned, to score to push the lead to 5-0. Purdue (19-10) added on three more runs, two unearned in the sixth to close the game.

Karen Constien (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North H.S.) singled in the first, the lone Crusader to reach base in game two against Brooke Baker. Baker struck out six while improving to 10-2 on the season. Ashlee Blankenbaker (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) suffered the loss for Valpo (4-9), fanning three in five innings of work.

The Crusaders will return home for a twinbill against Indiana State on Thursday afternoon with the first pitch of game one scheduled for 2 p.m.