The Valparaiso softball team finally got action underway at the Colorado State Classic in Fort Collins, Colo. on Saturday, but the results wouldn’t fall the Crusaders’ way, as Valpo dropped run-rule decisions to Omaha (11-2) and Drake (8-0).
Wildness plagued Crusader starting pitcher Taylor Weissenhofer (Orland Park, Ill./Lockport Township) against Omaha, as she walked five batters in 1.2 innings of work, surrendering four runs in falling to 0-3 on the season. Omaha added seven more runs in the fourth inning to push its lead to 11-0.
The Crusaders did put together a two-out rally in the top of the fifth. Freshman Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) started the train with a double down the right-field line and eventually came around to score on an infield single from sophomore Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro). Two batters later, junior Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) drew a bases-loaded walk to plate sophomore Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and cut the deficit to 11-2. But with the bases still loaded and a chance to extend the game, a line-out ended the contest.
Omaha (8-7) starting pitcher Lizzie Noble earned the complete-game win to improve to 1-2 on the season, scattering four hits. Lawson tallied two of Valpo’s four hits, while Ranieri recorded walks in each of her three plate appearances.
The nightcap was not kind to the Crusaders either, as Drake scored one run in the third, three in the fourth and four in the fifth for the run-rule decision. Ranieri and junior Sierra Pico (Las Vegas, Nev./Legacy) picked up base knocks against the Bulldogs. Drake (8-9) starter Rebekah Schmidt went the distance to improve to 4-5, while junior Mollie Lindeman (Hebron, Ind./Hebron [PNC]) took the loss for Valpo, falling to 2-3 on the year.
Valparaiso (3-8) continues action from Colorado State on Sunday with two more games. The Crusaders take on Omaha at 2:30 p.m. CT and the host Rams at 4:45 p.m., with live stats available for both games at ValpoAthletics.com.