The Valparaiso University softball team took one of two games Saturday afternoon at the Valpo Softball Complex in Missouri Valley Conference play against Evansville, bouncing back after a 2-0 defeat in the opener to down the Purple Aces in the nightcap, 6-2.
How It Happened – Game One
- Evansville scored the only runs it would need in the top of the first, as following a leadoff single, Lindsay Renneisen lifted a two-run homer just inside the left field foul pole to put the Purple Aces ahead, 2-0, just three batters into the game.
- Crusader pitcher Kelsie Packard (Beloit, Wis./Turner [Rock Valley College]) was stellar from that point on. Packard retired 12 in a row at one point and allowed just one Evansville runner into scoring position following the home run.
- But the two runs proved to be enough for Evansville pitcher Morgan Florey. Florey limited the Crusaders to just one baserunner – a two-out bunt single from senior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) in the second inning – over the first six frames.
- Valpo would bring the potential game-winning run to the plate in the seventh inning, as after a leadoff error, freshman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) dropped a one-out single into shallow left. Junior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) followed with a ball that fell in shallow center, but with the runners having to hold in case it was caught, the Purple Aces were able to force Valpo’s lead runner. A strikeout would close out the game.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Valpo claimed a lead it would not relinquish in the bottom of the second. Anderson reached second on a leadoff error, as her fly ball to left was dropped, and two batters later, sophomore Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) smacked the first pitch she saw back through the middle for an RBI single.
- Evansville threatened to take the lead in the top of the third, putting a pair of runners in scoring position with two outs before senior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) induced a grounder to short to keep the Purple Aces off the board.
- The Crusaders broke the game open with three runs in the third. Valpo loaded the bases with one out and Anderson lined a double to the wall in right-center, scoring a pair. Senior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) followed with a groundout that plated the third run of the frame to make it a 4-0 Valpo lead.
- Evansville loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth, but the Crusaders limited the Purple Aces to just one run. A pair of force-outs at home sandwiched a run-scoring walk, and then with the bases loaded and two out, the Evansville runner at second ran into Trepanier as she was attempting to field a grounder at short and was called for interference.
- Four singles led to two runs for the Crusaders in the fifth to extend the lead to 6-1. Magnifico lined out to center with the bases loaded and one out for a sacrifice fly, as Trepanier came home, and later in the inning, senior Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) sent a 2-1 offering into center to plate freshman Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn)..
- The Purple Aces again loaded the bases in the sixth, this time with two outs, but a grounder to Burke at third kept it a 6-1 game. Evansville would score a run with nobody out in the seventh before sophomore Emily Richardson (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) closed out the game with three straight outs – the last two coming via the strikeout.
Inside the Games
- The win in the nightcap snapped a six-game losing streak for the Crusaders in MVC play.
- The six runs Valpo scored in the win matched its second-highest output in an MVC game this season.
- Valpo has now surrendered exactly two runs in each of its last four MVC games, and has given up two or fewer runs in nine of 16 conference matchups.
- Packard took the tough-luck loss in the opener to fall to 2-5 this year despite scattering just five hits and striking out a career-best 10 Evansville hitters. The junior has now struck out at least six batters in each of her last five starts.
- Seven different Crusaders combined for the Crusaders’ nine hits in the nightcap win, including matching 2-for-3 lines with two runs scored from Trepanier and Burke out of the second and third spots in the batting order, respectively.
- Burke also drew a walk in the second game as she reached in three of her four plate appearances.
- Grossmann improved to 11-9 for the Crusaders, giving up just one run in her four innings of work. Richardson pitched the final three innings in relief for her fourth save of the season.
Valpo (18-20, 5-11 MVC) closes out the three-game series with Evansville with a critical rubber game tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. from the Valpo Softball Complex. Live stats and audio will be available for the game.