Valparaiso University Sports Update, March 9, 2017

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: March 9, 2017

VU-Crusaders-Edged-By-Top-Ten-Alabama-Squad-WednesdayCrusaders Edged By Top-Ten Alabama Squad Wednesday
The Valparaiso University softball team put together a tremendous team effort in its biggest challenge of the 2017 season to date, facing a #9/11 Alabama squad which entered the game at 20-2 on the season. Junior pitcher Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ill./Lebanon) led the way with a tremendous effort in the circle, throwing a four-hitter against a strong Crimson Tide offense, but the Crusaders eventually fell by a 1-0 final.

How It Happened

  • Alabama scored the game’s lone run in the bottom of the first. Elissa Brown led off with a first-pitch single, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Crusader error. Sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) helped limit the Crimson Tide to one run, catching a looping liner and doubling an Alabama baserunner off of first.
  • Alabama recorded back-to-back two-out hits in the second, but Montgomery induced a foul-out to right to keep the Crimson Tide off the board. The junior then tossed a 1-2-3 third inning, assisted by a diving catch by junior catcher Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) on a bunt attempt fouled behind home plate.
  • Sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) picked up the Crusaders’ first hit as she led off the fourth with a single back through the middle. Trepanier advanced to second, but would be left on base there. Junior Jasmine Ramirez (Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium) recorded a one-out infield single in the fifth as well, but would eventually be stranded.
  • Alabama got a runner to third base with two outs in both the fourth and fifth innings, but both times Montgomery and the Crusader defense were up to the challenge, as a pair of fly-ball outs kept the Crimson Tide stuck on one run.
  • Senior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) led off the Valpo sixth with an infield single down the third-base line, and the Crusaders nearly took the lead with Trepanier at bat, as the sophomore launched a fly ball to the wall in right-center for a double.
  • A failed squeeze attempt would result in the first out, and after a strikeout, the Crimson Tide chose to intentionally walk Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) to again put the potential go-ahead run on base. But a pop-up ended the Crusaders’ threat in the sixth.
  • Freshman Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York), moved to center field in the middle of the sixth, recorded a standout play in her first action in center in a collegiate uniform as she made a great diving catch on a fly to shallow center by Reagan Dykes.
  • The Crusaders entered the seventh still trailing by just one run, but went down in order in their final turn at-bat.

Inside the Game

  • The one run allowed by Valpo to Alabama marked the Crimson Tide’s second-lowest scoring output of the season, as they were shut out once earlier this year – by #18 Louisiana.
  • Valpo was in search of its first win over a ranked team since a 7-5 win at #23 Maryland on Mar. 15, 2008. This was the program’s fourth one-run loss against a nationally-ranked squad since that game.
  • Montgomery tossed one of her best games in a Crusader uniform, giving up just the four hits and one run to an Alabama squad which entered the night hitting .336 on the year and averaging nearly six runs per game. The tough-luck loss dropped the junior to 3-1 on the year.
  • Trepanier picked up two of Valpo’s four hits on Wednesday night, extending her streak to five consecutive multi-hit games.
  • The intentional walk to Stewart was the first intentional free pass that Alabama has ordered this year in its 23rd game of the season.
  • Sydney Littlejohn earned the win for Alabama (21-2) with her complete-game effort, improving to 8-0 on the year as she struck out a career-best 13 batters.

Next Up
The Crusaders (6-3) will stay in the Heart of Dixie this weekend, as they travel to the Leon Smith Classic, hosted by SE Missouri State in Oxford, Ala. Tournament play will open for Valpo on Friday against Belmont and SEMO.

Men’s Tennis Winning Streak Reaches Double Figures
On a day when Jeffrey Schorsch’s career singles win total hit triple figures, the Valparaiso University men’s tennis team extended its winning streak to double digits by downing Saint Leo 5-2 in Saint Leo, Fla. The Crusaders have won 10 straight matches and stand at 11-1 this season.

How It Happened

  • Schorsch was the first player to finish, walloping Thomas Grinberg 6-1, 6-4 at No. 1 singles.
  • Kyle Dunn captured a 6-3 win in Set 1 at No. 4 singles against Charles Benet before winning 7-6(2) to nail down the victory in Set 2.
  • Brandon Ancona’s win over Oskar Numio at No. 6 singles also came in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2.
  • Charlie Emhardt was triumphant as well, beating Francisco Aparicio handily in Set 1 (6-1) before edging him 7-6(2) in the second set.
  • The Crusaders suffered setbacks at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, as Dave Bacalla fell 6-3, 6-2 and Chad Kissell was on the losing end of a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 marathon with Saint Leo’s Jamie Bueno.
  • Valpo took the doubles point by virtue of wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Schorsch and Emhardt took care of Grinberg and Thomas Suillerot 6-3, while Kissell and Bacalla cruised to a 6-1 win over Bueno and Benet.

Inside the Match

  • Saint Leo, a Division-II foe, drops to 4-2 on the season with the loss. The Lions have been a Division-II powerhouse and are ranked No. 2 in the nation in the latest ITA D-II rankings.
  • Just two days after becoming the second player in program history to reach 100 doubles wins, Schorsch hit the singles century mark, becoming the first Crusader to do so. The reigning Horizon League Player of the Week, Schorsch is a perfect 10-0 in dual matches this spring.
  • Dunn owns the team lead with 16 victories as he upped his mark to 16-6 overall and 9-4 this spring. He has 81 career wins, third in program history.
  • Emhardt picked up the win to improve to 13-7 on the season and stay one win ahead of Dunn for second in program history.
  • This was the first time in its last seven matches that Valpo allowed the opposition to score more than one team point.

Next Up
The Crusaders remain in the Sunshine State to take on Duquesne on Friday morning, a match that is slated to get underway at 7 a.m. CT.

Women’s Golf Starts Bulldog Invite with Best Round of Spring Season
The Valparaiso University women’s golf team showed noteworthy improvement on the first day of its second meet of the spring, finishing Wednesday in sixth place of nine teams with a score of 330. The Crusaders received strong individual showings from a pair of freshmen in Round 1 of the Bulldog Florida Invitational, an event hosted by Butler at Windsor Parke in Jacksonville, Fla.

How It Happened

  • A senior and a freshman shared the team lead as Angie Kim and Tiffany Curtis each stroked an 82 (+10). They currently sit in a tie for 19th overall.
  • Katie Willenbrink was just a stroke off the pace set by her Crusader teammates, as she posted an 83 (+11) and is tied for 21st overall.
  • Madison McCreary also had a strong day, joining Willenbrink as part of the tie for 21st at 83.
  • Freshman Kayla Krueger competed as an individual and notched an 84, tying for 28th overall.
  • Kylie Shoemake rounded out the team participants for the Crusaders with an 86, while Kiana Jongsma (87) and Sydney Shrum (97) both joined Krueger in competing as individuals.

Inside the Rounds

  • Stetson owns the team lead in the event at 310 (+22), four strokes ahead of second-place High Point.
  • The Crusaders are just two strokes behind fifth-place Lipscomb and five strokes off the pace of Butler and Western Carolina, who are tied for third. Valpo owns a narrow one-stroke edge on seventh-place Newberry College.
  • The team score of 330 was a full nine strokes better than Valpo’s best round of the Ball State Sunshine Invite last month and 17 strokes better than its Round 1 score in that event.

Thoughts from Head Coach Jon Haas
“This was a tremendous improvement from our tournament last month. I’m extremely pleased with the entire team’s play today. Getting an 82 and an 84 from the freshman class was great.”

Next Up
The Crusaders will continue competition in the Bulldog Florida Invite on Thursday.

Crusaders Pummel Quakers for Fifth Win in Six Games
A day after coming out on the winning end of a pitchers’ duel, the Valparaiso University baseball team brought the bats on Wednesday afternoon in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The Crusaders busted out for their most productive inning of the season by scoring five times in the fifth and never looked back on their way to a 16-3 rout of Pennsylvania.

How It Happened

  • James Stea led off the game with an infield single, then stole both second and third and stood 90 feet away with two outs in the inning. Nate Palace came to the dish with a chance for a two-out RBI, and ended up with two of them as he lined a home run to left.
  • The Crusaders (6-5) continued the two-out rally as Jake Hanson ripped a double and Sam Shaikin walked, but Jayden Eggimann flied to right to end the frame.
  • Montana Quigley made his first start of the season for the Crusaders. He allowed runners to reach base in each of the first four innings, but worked out of all four frames unscathed.
  • Giovanni Garbella stroked a single to left with one away in the fifth, driving in Stea and Riley Dent to double Valpo’s lead to four.
  • Palace delivered again in the fifth, crushing a triple off the centerfield fence to score Garbella. Hanson followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in Palace and boost Valpo’s edge to six.
  • The Crusaders tacked on a fifth fifth-inning run as Eggimann reached on an infield single, then advanced to second on an error that allowed Sam Shaikin to score, making it 7-0 Crusaders.
  • Alex Dirienzo came out of the Valpo bullpen to heave a scoreless fifth, surrendering just one hit.
  • The Crusaders did more damage in the sixth, as they tacked on three runs, all unearned. Patrick Donohue scored on a passed ball, then an error by the centerfielder allowed two more runners to cross the dish to expand the lead to 10.
  • Junior Hayden Kissee, a transfer from Kaskaskia College, was sent to the bump for his Valpo debut in the sixth. The Quakers managed one unearned run against him to get on the board.
  • Another hurler made his Crusader debut in the bottom of the seventh as freshman Jake Larson was inserted into the game. He yielded two runs on three hits and a walk, before notching an important strikeout to retire the side as Penn (0-5) stranded runners at second and third.
  • Stea ripped his first home run of the season with one away in the eighth, a two-run blow with Donohue along for the ride to make it 12-3.
  • The Quakers loaded the bases against James Meyer with nobody out in the eighth, but Ellis Foreman came in and wiggled out of the jam without yielding any damage.
  • Valpo’s third home run of the day came off the bat of Hanson in the top of the ninth. With Palace at first, he clobbered a two-run blow to make it 14-3.Valpo added two more in the ninth as Stea and Dawson laced run-scoring singles, building the lead to 16-3.
  • Luke VanLanen came on to work the bottom of the ninth, but the inning was still in progress when the game was called by darkness.

Inside the Game

  • Palace launched his third home run of the season, helping him bounce back from an 0-for-4 performance on Tuesday, his first hitless game of the year. Palace’s triple in the fifth was his 10th extra-base hit in 11 games this season.
  • Stea’s two first-inning stolen bases helped him extend his team lead in that category. He has now swiped nine bases this year.
  • Quigley was lifted after four innings. He allowed three hits and two walks but no runs while striking out four.
  • Quigley, a sophomore, made three starts last season. The four innings matched the longest outing of his collegiate career.
  • Dent’s single in the second was the first hit of his collegiate career as he made just his third appearance. His fifth-inning run also marked the first of his college career.
  • The Crusaders have a winning record through 11 games for the first time since 1997. The last time Valpo had such a strong start to the season, this year’s freshmen and many of the sophomores were not even born.
  • The 12-run output was Valpo’s highest of the season, shattering its previous high of nine.
  • Stea’s home run was his first of the year and the second of his Crusader career. The last time he went yard was his first series in a Valpo uniform on Feb. 21, 2016 against Jacksonville State.
  • Hanson’s long ball was also his first of the season and the third of his collegiate career. Both prior home runs came a year ago.
  • Dirienzo earned the win in relief since Quigley didn’t go the required five innings, while Mitchell Holcomb took the loss for Penn.
  • Stea, Garbella, Palace and Hanson drove in three runs apiece for the Crusaders. Stea and Donohue had three hits each, while Stea scored four runs.

Next Up
The Crusaders will begin a three-game series at South Florida on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Central Time. Links to live audio and stats for all three games can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.

Crusaders Pummel Quakers for Fifth Win in Six Games
A day after coming out on the winning end of a pitchers’ duel, the Valparaiso University baseball team brought the bats on Wednesday afternoon in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The Crusaders busted out for their most productive inning of the season by scoring five times in the fifth and never looked back on their way to a 12-3 rout of Pennsylvania. The Crusaders actually led 16-3 in the bottom of the ninth, but the game was called due to darkness so the runs scored in the top of the ninth did not count.

How It Happened

  • James Stea led off the game with an infield single, then stole both second and third and stood 90 feet away with two outs in the inning. Nate Palace came to the dish with a chance for a two-out RBI, and ended up with two of them as he lined a home run to left.
  • The Crusaders (6-5) continued the two-out rally as Jake Hanson ripped a double and Sam Shaikin walked, but Jayden Eggimann flied to right to end the frame.
  • Montana Quigley made his first start of the season for the Crusaders. He allowed runners to reach base in each of the first four innings, but worked out of all four frames unscathed.
  • Giovanni Garbella stroked a single to left with one away in the fifth, driving in Stea and Riley Dent to double Valpo’s lead to four.
  • Palace delivered again in the fifth, crushing a triple off the centerfield fence to score Garbella. Hanson followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in Palace and boost Valpo’s edge to six.
  • The Crusaders tacked on a fifth fifth-inning run as Eggimann reached on an infield single, then advanced to second on an error that allowed Sam Shaikin to score, making it 7-0 Crusaders.
  • Alex Dirienzo came out of the Valpo bullpen to heave a scoreless fifth, surrendering just one hit.
  • The Crusaders did more damage in the sixth, as they tacked on three runs, all unearned. Patrick Donohue scored on a passed ball, then an error by the centerfielder allowed two more runners to cross the dish to expand the lead to 10.
  • Junior Hayden Kissee, a transfer from Kaskaskia College, was sent to the bump for his Valpo debut in the sixth. The Quakers managed one unearned run against him to get on the board.
  • Another hurler made his Crusader debut in the bottom of the seventh as freshman Jake Larson was inserted into the game. He yielded two runs on three hits and a walk, before notching an important strikeout to retire the side as Penn (0-5) stranded runners at second and third.
  • Stea ripped his first home run of the season with one away in the eighth, a two-run blow with Donohue along for the ride to make it 12-3.
  • The Quakers loaded the bases against James Meyer with nobody out in the eighth, but Ellis Foreman came in and wiggled out of the jam without yielding any damage.
  • Valpo’s third home run of the day came off the bat of Hanson in the top of the ninth. With Palace at first, he clobbered a two-run blow to make it 14-3.Valpo added two more in the ninth as Stea and Dawson laced run-scoring singles, building the lead to 16-3.
  • Luke VanLanen came on to work the bottom of the ninth, but the inning was still in progress when the game was called by darkness, erasing the stats and runs from the top of the ninth inning.

Inside the Game

  • Palace launched his third home run of the season, helping him bounce back from an 0-for-4 performance on Tuesday, his first hitless game of the year. Palace’s triple in the fifth was his 10th extra-base hit in 11 games this season.
  • Stea’s two first-inning stolen bases helped him extend his team lead in that category. He has now swiped nine bases this year.
  • Quigley was lifted after four innings. He allowed three hits and two walks but no runs while striking out four.
  • Quigley, a sophomore, made three starts last season. The four innings matched the longest outing of his collegiate career.
  • Dent’s single in the second was the first hit of his collegiate career as he made just his third appearance. His fifth-inning run also marked the first of his college career.
  • The Crusaders have a winning record through 11 games for the first time since 1997. The last time Valpo had such a strong start to the season, this year’s freshmen and many of the sophomores were not even born.
  • The 12-run output was Valpo’s highest of the season, shattering its previous high of nine.
  • Stea’s home run was his first of the year and the second of his Crusader career. The last time he went yard was his first series in a Valpo uniform on Feb. 21, 2016 against Jacksonville State.
  • Dirienzo earned the win in relief since Quigley didn’t go the required five innings, while Mitchell Holcomb took the loss for Penn.
  • Garbella and Palace drove in three runs apiece for the Crusaders. Stea, Palace and Donohue had two hits each.

Next Up
The Crusaders will begin a three-game series at South Florida on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Central Time. Links to live audio and stats for all three games can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.