The Valparaiso University softball team fell in a heartbreaker to Wright State Friday evening in Dayton, Ohio as the Raiders downed the Crusaders, 3-2 in nine innings.
Valparaiso jumped out to a 2-0 lead through four turns at the plate thanks to the long ball. In the third, sophomore Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) led off the inning with a homer to right-center – her fifth of the season. Then with one out in the fourth, junior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) smashed a no-doubt bomb to right-center field for her team-best seventh home run of the year, doubling the Crusaders’ lead.
Meanwhile, senior Taylor Weissenhofer (Orland Park, Ill./Lockport Township) was untouchable early on. Weissenhofer walked the first batter she faced, who was promptly caught stealing by Stewart, and then retired the next 14 in a row – seven via the strikeout. But Wright State would lead off the sixth with its first base hit of the ballgame, and score a pair of runs in the inning on an RBI single and a bases-loaded hit by pitch to tie the game at 2-2.
Valpo went down in order in the seventh, while Weissenhofer worked around a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh to send the game to extra innings. The Crusaders tallied one-out singles in both the eighth and ninth innings, but could not push across the go-ahead run. Wright State walked off in the bottom of the ninth, as after consecutive hit batsmen to lead off the frame, a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up 60 feet and Jordan Kennaw connected on the game-winning single.
Five different Crusaders tallied one hit apiece offensively, while sophomore Taylor Nadler (New Haven, Mo./St. Francis Borgia) reached on a pair of walks. Weissenhofer took the complete-game loss, falling to 6-12 despite giving up just four hits in 8.1 innings. Ashley Sharp earned the win for Wright State (34-20, 17-5 Horizon), going all nine innings to improve to 19-6.
Valparaiso (13-31, 7-13) is scheduled to close out the regular season with a doubleheader against the Raiders Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. CT. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3, with live stats also available via ValpoAthletics.com.