Valparaiso cranked out 13
hits Thursday afternoon at Big 12 foe Kansas, but a pair of Jayhawk three-run
innings were too much for the Crusaders to overcome as they fall to the hosts,
6-5, in the opener of the KU Invitational.
“Obviously putting up 13
hits on a Big 12 school is pretty good, but I’m disappointed we didn’t come
away with the win today,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider. “We just
got beat today because we didn’t do what we talked about doing before the
game. We weren’t as aggressive as we
needed to be at the plate, getting caught looking at third strikes in key
situations, and we didn’t manage the ball like we needed to in the field.”
Valpo got on the board
first Thursday with a solo homer by Jordan
Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) in the top of the first, but a two-run homer
and RBI single in the bottom of the second shifted the lead back to Kansas,
3-1. Two innings later, the Crusaders
tied things up again thanks to the longball.
Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo
Union) led off the top of the fourth with a single and Jessie Marinec (Alsip,
Ill./Marist) followed with her
second round-tripper of the year to tie the game at three.
The Jayhawks regained the
lead in the bottom of the fifth, as with the bases loaded and two outs, a
single ended up plating three Kansas
runs to give it a 6-3 advantage. But the
Crusaders struck back immediately, as Marinec led off the sixth with a double
and Lisa DeBruzzi (Carlisle, Mass./Concord-Carlisle)
followed two batters later with a single to put two on and one out. Pinch-hitter Tori Brown (Harrison,
Ohio/Harrison) stepped up and
continued to swing a hot bat, scoring both runners with a double to right-center
to cut the deficit to one run.
But Brown was thrown out
trying to advance to third, and Sara
Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) would be unable to advance
after reaching on a two-out single. In
its last chance at-bat, Valpo put runners on first and second with nobody out
and advanced both players with a sacrifice bunt, but the Jayhawks induced a
groundout and a flyout to end the game.
Five different Crusaders
tallied multi-hit games on Thursday, while Marinec scored twice and drove in
two runs. Valpo pitchers Sam McGee (Bloomington,
Minn./Jefferson) and Alex Lagesse (Beecher,
Ill./Beecher) each threw three
innings and combined to hold the Jayhawks to just six hits, but the latter took
the tough-luck loss, giving up three unearned runs to fall to 5-2 on the
year. Kansas (10-10) got four innings from starter
Allie Clark, while reliever Sarah Vertelka earned the victory to improve to
“Pitching-wise, we talked
about keeping the ball in the park today, and Kansas’ one home run really hurt us,” said Schneider. “Other than that, I thought both Sam and Alex
did a good job today spreading out their hits and pitching well. We just didn’t manage the ball like we needed
to, and that ultimately cost us. I
really felt like we were the better team today, but credit Kansas for figuring out ways to score runs
and get the victory.”
Valparaiso (13-6) continues play at the KU Invitational
with just one game on Friday after schedule adjustments due to weather
concerns. The Crusaders will again face
the host Jayhawks, this time at 2 p.m.
Live stats will be available at www.valpoathletics.com.