The Valparaiso University softball team came out of a topsy-turvy battle with Stony Brook on Sunday morning in Nashville, Tenn. right-side up, as the Crusaders held off one final rally from the Seawolves to earn a 10-9 victory in their finale at the Purple/Gold Challenge.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders got the scoring going right away versus Stony Brook, as batting as the visiting team, Valpo put together a two-out rally in the top of the first. Senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) connected on back-to-back singles, and junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) delivered a two-run triple to give the Crusaders the early lead.
- Valpo then put up a crooked number in the second inning. A walk and two singles loaded the bases with one out, setting the stage for a two-run double by senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East). Stewart followed with a two-run double of her own, and after a pitching change, Stauffenberg drove in a run with a base hit to complete a five-run inning and give Valpo a 7-0 lead.
- Just when it looked like the Crusaders were threatening to win via run rule, Stony Brook stormed back with a seven-run inning, scoring all seven runs with one out, to tie the game at 7-7.
- Junior Mackenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]), who had started the game and faced the first four batters of the inning, re-entered in the circle with two on and two out and induced a groundout to escape the frame.
- Back-to-back two-out singles led to nothing in the fifth inning for the Crusaders, but Valpo would take the lead for good in the sixth.
- Senior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) and sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) started the frame with consecutive infield hits, and two batters later, Stewart knocked them both in with a two-run double. Then, with two outs, a Callaghan single pushed home Stewart with a key insurance run to make it 10-7 Crusaders.
- Valpo loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh, but was unable to add to its lead. Then, in the bottom of the frame, the Seawolves loaded the bases with two away before two runs scored on a Crusader error. With the score 10-9 and the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position, Grossmann recorded a strikeout to close out the Valpo win.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders scored in double figures for the second time this season.
- The nine runs surrendered were the most given up by Valpo in a win since defeating Youngstown State 11-9 in the 2013 Horizon League Championship title game.
- Valpo tallied 15 hits in Sunday’s win – matching a season high and tying the most in a single game by a Crusader squad since February of 2014.
- As a team, the Crusaders went 7-for-16 with runners in scoring position in Sunday’s victory after going just 3-for-21 with RISP over the weekend’s first three games.
- Stewart led the way for the Crusaders Sunday, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBIs. The senior matched her career highs for both hits and RBIs in a single game.
- Stewart has now posted five multi-hit games on the year and has reached base in all eight games.
- Trepanier went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, tallying multiple hits for the fourth straight game.
- Callaghan drove in her first three runs of the season and picked up her first multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-4.
- Stauffenberg also recorded a pair of hits, extending her hitting streak to five consecutive games.
- Batting in the nine-spot in the order for the first time since her sophomore year, Lawson successfully turned over the lineup three times, finishing the win 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
- Grossmann improved to 2-2 this year in the circle, earning the win as she recorded all but one out.
The Crusaders (6-2) will face one of the nation’s most successful programs in midweek action on Wednesday, as Valpo travels to Tuscaloosa to take on #9/11 Alabama. The game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network+, with Eli Gold and Danae Hays on the call, and can also be seen live on ESPN3, Watch ESPN and the ESPN app. Links for the live video, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.