Crusaders Drop Series Opener to UIC
There were just two run-scoring blows on Tuesday afternoon at the Valpo Softball Complex, but unfortunately for the Valparaiso University softball team, both came off the bats of visiting UIC players, as the Flames handed the Crusaders a 6-0 loss in their Horizon League series opener.
How It Happened
- Valpo’s best chances at cracking the scoreboard came early on in the game, with its best opportunity coming in the first inning. Sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, and senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) followed with a single to put two on. But Trepanier was caught trying to steal third, and Calombaris would be stranded at second.
- In the bottom of the second, junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) drew a leadoff walk, but could only advance as far as second base.
- The Crusader defense turned double plays with one on and one out in the top of the first, and then with one on and nobody out in the fourth. But the Flames would open the scoring later in the fourth, as following an infield single, Jennah Speth connected on a two-run homer.
- After retiring the first batter in the fifth, two singles and a walk loaded the bases for UIC’s Skylee James, who delivered a grand slam to cap the scoring.
- While the Crusaders only went down in order one time out of seven innings, they were unable to advance a runner into scoring position after Callaghan reached second in the second frame.
Inside The Game
- Trepanier and Calombaris picked up Valpo’s lone base hits of the game, as UIC starter Elaine Heflin – coming off a nine-inning no-hitter with 17 strikeouts at YSU in her last start – went the distance and struck out 11 Crusaders.
- Combined with her leadoff hit by pitch in the first, Trepanier reached base in two of her three plate appearances, as did sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]), who drew a pair of walks.
- For the first time this season, senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) failed to reach base. Stewart went 0-for-3, snapping her program-record 29-game on-base streak.
- Junior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) took the loss to fall to 12-6 for Valpo, as she gave up the two run-scoring homers. Freshman Lindsay Zdroik (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) scattered three hits in 2.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen.
- This marks the third time in their first four Horizon League series that the Crusaders have dropped the series opener. Each of the first two times this year, Valpo has rebounded with wins in each of the series’ final two games.
Thoughts From Head Coach Kate Stake
“The story of the game was that UIC was able to take advantage of their opportunities and we weren’t able to take advantage of our chances. Heflin was struggling to find the zone early on, and while we showed some good discipline at the plat e during that stretch, we weren’t able to capitalize when we got runners on.”
“I thought our pitching, other than a couple of mistakes that UIC took full advantage of, was solid – if we pitch the same way tomorrow and adjust our approach at the plate hitting, we’ll be in a good place. I feel like we need our infield to take a step up – we had a few plays today, that while they might not have gone down as errors, were plays that we expect our infield – which is a very good group defensively – to make to help limit UIC’s chances.”
The Crusaders (19-11, 6-4 Horizon) conclude the three-game set with league-leading UIC on Wednesday afternoon at the Valpo Softball Complex with a 1 p.m. doubleheader. The games can be seen live on ESPN3, with all the live coverage links available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Suffer First Midweek Loss of Season
The Valparaiso University baseball team couldn’t keep its run of midweek success alive on Tuesday afternoon in Muncie, Ind., as Ball State defeated the Crusaders 11-2. Valpo received two hits apiece from Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge), Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) and Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) in the losing effort.
How It Happened
- The Cardinals struck first against Valpo freshman starter Jake Larson (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) when Alex Maloney singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and crossed the dish on a knock up the middle by Caleb Stayton in the bottom of the first.
- Seth Freed cranked a run-scoring double to the corner in right to make it 2-0 Ball State and place runners at second and third with still only one away in the first.
- Matt Eppers hit a ground ball up the middle that was destined for centerfield, but second baseman Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) made a diving attempt and deflected the ball. Jacob, the shortstop, went to retrieve the ball in shallow center and Dawson was slow to get up and lost his glove, leaving second unoccupied and allowing Eppers to move up for a two-run double. That marked the end of the day for Larson, and Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Texas / Stony Point) was called upon in relief.
- Foreman induced a ground ball from the first batter he faced, ending a prosperous Ball State first inning after four runs.
- After working out of a runners at second and third jam in the first, Ball State starter John Baker found himself in trouble again in the third. He hit back-to-back Valpo batters –Dawson and James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West]) – to start the inning, then yielded a base hit up the middle to Jacob with everyone moving up 90 feet to load the bases with one away. Two batters later, Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Dawson and get Valpo on the board.
- Eppers recorded his third RBI of the game on a ground ball to the left side with runners at first and third and two outs in the third. Jacob made a diving try and got a piece of the ball to keep it on the infield, but a run scored from third to make it 5-1 Ball State.
- Another run came in as a ground ball to first by Jeff Riedel got by for an E-3, making it 6-1 Ball State. The next hitter, Roman Baisa, made Valpo pay with two more unearned runs as he cracked a double to the wall in right that scored two.
- For the second straight inning, the Crusaders stranded the bases loaded against Baker in the top of the fourth. Shaikin’s single, Riley Dent’s walk and Dawson’s second HBP had packed the sacks with one away, but the Crusaders couldn’t find a clutch hit.
- Barczi, a freshman, continued his recent offensive success in the top of the fifth by sending a double to the gap in right center, scoring Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]), who had reached on an infield single to start the inning. Eggimann came on as a defensive replacement for Nate Palace at first in the fourth.
- The Cardinals poured on three more in the bottom of the fifth as Riedel delivered a two-run double to left and Maloney grounded a run-scoring single to short.
- The Valpo bullpen was strong late as Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro), Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) and Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) each worked scoreless frames in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
- Hanson saw his 16-game on-base streak come to an end.
Inside The Game
- Stea extended his league lead in hit by pitches by wearing his 12th of the season.
- Larson took the defeat, his first decision of the season, after allowing four runs (four earned) on four hits in 2/3 of an inning. Larson, a freshman, was making his first career start.
- Shaikin had two hits, his 10th multi-hit game of the season. He joins Stea and Palace as the three Crusaders with 10 multi-hit games or more. Shaikin’s performance extended his on-base streak to 14.
- Barczi has an extra-base hit in four straight games. He picked up his fifth multi-hit game of the year in 11 appearances and his third such performance in the last four games. Barczi’s double accounted for Valpo’s only extra-base hit of Tuesday’s game.
- Jacob also picked up two hits, his ninth multi-hit game of the year.
- This was Valpo’s first midweek defeat of the season. The Crusaders were previously 5-0 in midweek contests.
- Baker achieved the win to up his mark to 3-1 this year. He allowed two runs on six hits and one walk in five innings while notching five strikeouts.
The Crusaders will return home for a three-game holiday weekend series against Oakland (4-25, 2-7 Horizon) that begins on Thursday at 3 p.m. CT. All three games this weekend can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Continue to Haul in Men’s Tennis Accolades
Another week of flawless Horizon League play led to another week of league awards for the Valparaiso University men’s tennis team.
The league named senior Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) its Singles Player of the Week and Schorsch and doubles partner Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) its Doubles Team of the Week on Tuesday.
Schorsch rebounded nicely after suffering his first loss of the season on April 2 by rolling through the competition this past week. He went 2-0 at No. 1 singles, beating both Northern Kentucky's Mate Virag and Wright State's Jacob Perkins in straight sets. Schorsch has 107 career singles wins, a program record. He's 17-1 this spring and 5-0 in Horizon League play.
Valpo's top doubles team, which is ranked No. 18 in the nation by the ITA, earned another win on Sunday, breezing past Wright State's No. 1 team 6-2. Emhardt returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's match against Northern Kentucky due to an injury. As a team, the Crusaders have not dropped a doubles match in any of their five Horizon League matches.
This individual Player of the Week honor is the 13th of Schorsch’s distinguished Crusader career and his fourth this season. The Crusaders have won six Player of the Week awards and six Doubles Team of the Week Awards this year.
Valpo stands at 19-3 overall and 5-0 in Horizon League play. The Crusaders host Green Bay on Friday at 10 a.m. at the Valpo Tennis Complex, the first home outdoor match of the year for the Crusaders. It’s a battle of the last two league champions and the two teams that are currently unblemished in league play. While a win would not yet lock up the No. 1 seed in the Horizon League Tournament, it would allow the Crusaders to secure at least a share of the regular season Horizon League title.