“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” After coming up just two outs shy of her first career no-hitter last weekend, Valparaiso University sophomore pitcher Emily Richardson (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) was able to complete the feat on Sunday, holding North Carolina Central hitless and striking out 11 batters as the Crusaders won their finale at the Buccaneer Invitational, 3-0. The no-hitter was the first by a Valpo pitcher since 2013.
How It Happened
- Richardson faced the minimum through the first five innings. A leadoff walk in the first was caught stealing, and the sophomore then retired 15 consecutive hitters – nine by strikeout, including striking out the side in the third and fifth innings.
- Valpo scored the only run it would need in the top of the third, taking advantage of a trio of free passes. Junior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) drew a one-out walk, and later in the frame, with the bases loaded and two out, senior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) worked a five-pitch walk to force home Trepanier and give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
- The Crusaders then used their speed to help manufacture a pair of runs in the fifth. Senior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) laid down a one-out bunt single and promptly stole second before sophomore Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) drew a walk. The duo then pulled off a double steal, and Lawson came all the way around to score on an error by the Eagles. Two batters later, Stauffenberg knocked a 1-2 pitch back through the middle to score Magnifico and make it a 3-0 game.
- Richardson allowed just her second runner of the game on a one-out error in the sixth, but stranded that runner on third thanks to a groundout.
- The NCCU leadoff hitter in the seventh reached on a four-pitch walk before Richardson racked up back-to-back strikeouts to move within one out of the no-hitter. With the Eagles’ Aleyah Evans up to bat, Richardson induced a pop-up in foul ground, and first baseman Taylor Bowman (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) made the grab to cap the no-no.
Inside the Game
- Richardson’s no-hitter was the first by a Valpo player since Amanda Bolton held Temple hitless on March 15, 2013. The Crusaders had posted six one-hitters since Bolton’s no-no, including a one-hitter by Richardson just eight days ago against Tennessee State.
- It was also the first seven-inning no-hitter by a Crusader since March 12, 2002, when Amanda Gilbertson went the distance without surrendering a hit to St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Richardson’s no-hitter is the 10th known no-hitter in program history.
- Richardson picked up her second win in as many starts this season after recording just one victory last season as a freshman.
- Her 11 strikeouts on Sunday were a career high and the most by a Valpo pitcher since Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) set down 11 hitters on strikes one year ago to the day at North Carolina A&T.
- It wasn’t only in the circle where there was a record-setting performance on Sunday, however. Lawson matched Valpo’s single-game record for stolen bases, swiping three bases to give her 11 steals in as many attempts already this year. She also tallied two of the Crusaders’ six hits on the day to boost her batting average to .429.
- Trepanier reached base in three of her four plate appearances, while Stauffenberg reached twice and drove in a pair of runs.
- Freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) recorded her first career hit in a pinch-hitting appearance.
- Valpo ended the Buccaneer Invitational with a 4-1 record and sits at 6-3 through two weekends of play.
Valpo will take next weekend off from competition before embarking on its spring break trip to kick off March. The Crusaders will open the trip in Phoenix, Ariz. at Grand Canyon’s Lopes Up Classic. Tournament play begins on Saturday, March 3 with games against South Dakota and UNLV.