Eggimann Home Run Helps Crusaders Past Penguins
For the third time in the series, the Valparaiso University baseball team engaged in a back-and-forth affair with Youngstown State on Sunday afternoon at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio. This time the Crusaders got the last laugh, as Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]) belted his first Valpo home run in the top of the ninth, a three-run shot that proved to be the difference in the game.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (17-25, 7-12 Horizon) hit the ball hard in the early going against Youngstown State starter Alex Bellardini. Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) ripped a double to lead off the second, then Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) crushed a sharp single up the middle to put Valpo on the board.
- Shaikin crossed the dish for the second time in the game in the fourth, as he singled and eventually scampered home on a wild pitch.
- James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West]) ripped a solo home run to left to lead off the fifth, lifting the lead to 3-0.
- With Jesse Slinger on to pitch in place of Bellardini in the sixth, the Crusaders tacked on as Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) lifted a sac fly that allowed Shaikin to score his third run of the game and the team’s fourth.
- The Crusaders had scored in four of the first six innings, but the Penguins got it all back with one big frame against Valpo starter Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Texas / Stony Point). Trey Bridis delivered a two-run triple, followed by run-scoring hits by Lou Cardona and Kyle Benyo to tie the game at four.
- The Crusaders went back ahead in a peculiar top of the seventh. After a run-scoring single by Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) made it 5-4, Valpo tacked on as Garbella hit a ground ball back to the pitcher, who threw the ball to home, but the catcher did not step on the plate while he had possession of the ball before throwing on to first in an effort to double up Garbella. Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) was safe at home on an E-2, boosting Valpo’s lead to 6-4.
- The Penguins (14-28, 8-14) got one back in the bottom of the inning against Foreman, then tied the game against Hayden Kissee (Indianapolis / Greenfield Central [Kaskasia College]) in the eighth.
- The top of the ninth saw Garbella, who has seemingly been at the heart of every Valpo rally recently, club a clutch double that scored Steven Fitzsimmons and gave Valpo a 7-6 lead. That’s when Eggimann, who had come off the bench earlier in the game as a defensive replacement, crushed his first long ball in a Valpo uniform with Garbella and Kapers along for the ride.
- Eggimann’s blast proved to be the difference as the Penguins got one run in the bottom of the inning against Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) on a Shane Willoughby double down the right field line.
Inside the Game
- Kissee picked up the win in relief, the first decision of his Valpo career. Joel Hake took the defeat for the Penguins and dropped to 0-5.
- Foreman allowed five runs on 13 hits while striking out three over seven innings. For the second straight start, Foreman did not issue any walks.
- The Crusaders were outhit 16-12, but they drew eight walks to Youngstown State’s one and committed no errors to Youngstown State’s two.
- Stea’s home run was his fourth of the season. He reached base in all six plate appearances with three hits, two walks and an HBP.
- Shaikin and Garbella also chipped in three hits apiece. Shaikin has climbed to the team lead in batting average at .333, with Garbella third on the team at .312.
- Entering Valpo’s game against Northern Kentucky on April 9, Garbella was hitting .213 with no home runs and eight RBIs in 26 games this season and was a .204 career hitter over three years. Since then, he’s hitting .451 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 14 games.
The Crusaders will host Northern Illinois on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field. The game will be broadcast on 95.1 FM, WVUR Valparaiso. Links to live audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Repeat as Horizon League Champions, Head Back to NCAA Tournament
All eyes were on Kyle Dunn – that much has become a norm for the Valparaiso University men’s tennis senior.
But this time the stakes were higher than ever before, with the Horizon League Championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament hanging in the balance on Sunday afternoon at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Cleveland State pushed Valpo just about as far as it could go, but in the end the No. 1 seeded Crusaders held off the No. 6 seeded Vikings, as Dunn provided the clinching blow of a 4-3 victory for the third time this season and the second straight day.
The Crusaders (23-3) built a commanding 3-0 lead in the match, but the Vikings (10-17) roared from behind with three-set wins at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 to make it 3-3. Dunn had taken the first set from Malm 6-2, but the drama continued to heighten as Malm grabbed the second set on a tiebreak 7-6 (7-2).
Just when it seemed it couldn’t get any tighter, Dunn and Malm went to a tiebreak in the third set, with Dunn eventually escaping with the 7-6 (7-4) win that allowed Crusader nation to gasp a collective sigh of relief as the team mobbed Dunn in celebration.
“It was a big relief,” Dunn said. “It was extremely satisfying after all the hard work we put in this year. It’s thrilling to do it with 4-3 wins. It makes it even sweeter when you have to fight and claw for it.”
Dunn held a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak, but then Malm rallied to make it 5-4. Dunn won two points on Malm’s serve to win it.
“I didn’t feel a ton of nerves or pressure on me,” Dunn said. “I wanted to win it for our team and our guys. I was confident in myself that I would break through. The opportunity to be the one to clinch the match and send us to the NCAA Tournament is something I really cherish. It’s pretty surreal.”
The Crusaders were pushed to the brink in both matches at this weekend’s Horizon League Tournament, but when it mattered most the favored veteran bunch came through. Valpo marches on, all set to appear in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. In addition, the Sunday win advances the Crusaders to a plateau never before reached by a Valpo team, as they establish a new program record with their 23rd win of the year.
For the second straight day, a tight match at No. 1 doubles went unfinished thanks to the strong play of the Crusaders at the other doubles positions. Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) and Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) dispatched Colton Buffington and Kevin Goth 6-2 at No. 2, then Dunn and Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) sealed the doubles point with a 6-2 win over Nico Mostardi and Andre Mick at No. 3.
Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) and Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill. / Niles North) trailed the No. 1 doubles match 5-4 to Mirko Radosevic and Benjamin Slade before play was halted.
Shortly after singles play had commenced, the Crusaders had already doubled the lead in the match to 2-0 as Schorsch did his thing at No. 1 singles, downing Mostardi 6-1, 6-3. With each passing victory, Schorsch adds to his ever-growing Valpo legacy that will place him among the most accomplished student-athletes to ever compete for the Crusaders.
The third victory came at No. 2 singles, as Kissell bounced back from a Saturday defeat in a big way, defeating Buffington in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1. Kissell picked up the 21st win of his sophomore campaign.
At that time the Crusaders led the match 3-0 and had won the first set on two of the remaining four courts. At No. 6 singles Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) fell 6-4, 2-6, 1-6 to Goth, and shortly thereafter Bacalla’s loss to Radosevic at No. 4 went final – 2-6, 6-4, 2-6.
Emhardt forced a third set against Slade after falling 6-2 in the first by winning the second 7-5. But Slade edged Emhardt 6-4 in the third, leveling the match at the three and setting up Dunn’s heroics.
Now, the Crusaders await their NCAA Tournament destination and opponent. The NCAA Tennis Selection Show will take place on Tuesday at 4 p.m. CT. A live video feed of the selection show will be available.
Valpo Men Win Crusader Open, Women Place Second
On a cold, rainy and windy day, the Valparaiso University men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted their fourth home meet in school history at the Warren G. Hoger Track. The men ended up with 180 points, receiving their first team victory this season. The women finished in second with 107 total points.
How It Happened
- In the field events, the Valpo men had two athletes place in first - junior Alexander Watson (Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) and sophomore Drew McKissick Jr. (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley). In the pole vault, Watson cleared the bar at 14’8” to grab 10 points for the Crusaders. McKissick earned his top honor in the javelin, receiving a distance of 164’2”.
- Junior Andrew Guzek (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) walked away from the Open with two second-place finishes in throwing events. He tossed the shot put 48’0 3/4" and had a distance of 161’0” in the hammer throw. Freshman Jake Rasawehr (Celina, Ohio/Celina) earned third in the discus event, garnering a distance of 137’10”.
- In the long jump, sophomore Malik Riley (Romeoville, Ind./Romeoville) captured the team’s best mark with a leap of 20’4 1/4". Teammates sophomore Aaron Clark Jr. and sophomore Collin McCullough (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) received fourth and sixth place results in the event as well. In triple jump action, freshman Nick Ricks (St. Louis, Mo./Lutheran North) and McCullough finished first (46’9”) and second (42’9 1/2") respectively.
- Teammates freshman Michael Collins (Neward, Del./Red Lion Christian Academy) and sophomore Tim Zange (Robins, La./Kennedy) finished two (10:08.41) and three (10:20.27) in the 3,000m steeplechase. Both runners improved on their season-best times in the event.
- Two Crusader hurdlers earned third-place results. Sophomore Quinten Holley (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) crossed the line in 16.84 in the 110m event and freshman Bryce Otterbach (Mendota, Ill./Mendota Township) had a time of 59.27 in the 400m race.
- Freshman Karl Hanke (Bridgman, Mich./Bridgman) led the squad in the 800m race. Sophomore Austin Henkel (Sublette, Ill./Amboy) paced Valpo in the 100m sprint. Junior Charles Banks (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) crossed the line first for the Brown and Gold in the 1,500m race. Leland Robertson took home the best mark in the 5,000m race. Junior Johnny Heagy (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) recorded the best height in the high jump for the Crusaders.
- In women’s competition, sophomore Nellie Bonham (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) captured a first-place nod in the shot put with a distance of 38’2”. Continuing her list of accomplishments of the afternoon, she scored ahead of the pack and earned first in the hammer (135’6”), just clipping teammate sophomore Abby Jankowski (Milwaukee, Wis./Greendale), who finished in second (133’3”). Jankowski beat half the field in the discus throw and earned third (115’7”).
- In the triple jump, Valpo freshman Anne Mou (Bloomingdale, Ill./Lake Park) and sophomore Chidimma Ozodi (South Milwaukee, Wis./South Milwaukee) finished first (34’11”) and fourth (32’7 3/4") respectively. The duo also earned marks in the long jump, with the rookie receiving second and the elder earning third.
- Sophomore Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/Finneytown) garnered a fourth-place nod in the 3,000m steeple chase, crossing the line at 13:45.18.
- Junior Janelle Wigal (Chattanooga, Tenn./Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences) led the team in the 800m and 1,500m races. Freshman Jordan Houlihan (Hickory Hills, Ill./Amos Alonzo Stagg) earned the top result in the 200m sprint. Senior Imani Scott-Thompson (Akron, Ohio/Firestone) had the best height in the high jump for Valpo. Freshman Nicole Berneche (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West) accounted for the best result in the women’s 5,000m race.
The Crusaders enter the postseason and begin competition at Youngstown State University with the Horizon League Outdoor Championships. The three-day meet begins on Friday, May 5 and will be on the track surrounding Farmers National Bank Field.
Valpo Drops Series Finale to Golden Grizzlies
Oakland proved to be too much for the Valparaiso University softball team to handle Saturday on a cold, rainy afternoon at the Valpo Softball Complex, as the Crusaders lost the series finale to the Golden Grizzlies by a 12-2 final.
How It Happened
- Both teams put two runners in scoring position with two outs in the first without scoring, but Oakland busted through in a big way in the second. The Golden Grizzlies took advantage of four walks and got three run-scoring hits – capped by a bases-clearing triple from Kelsie Swanson – to take a 7-0 lead.
- The Crusaders had a golden opportunity to really cut into the deficit in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with nobody out with a pair of singles and a walk. But they could score just one run, on a bases-loaded walk from Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno).
- Junior Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) singled with one out in the third and came around to score on an Oakland error to make it a 7-2 game.
- The Golden Grizzlies secured the run-rule decision with four runs in the fourth and a Jamie Squires homer in the fifth.
Inside the Game
- The run-rule loss was just the Crusaders ‘second of the season and their first since March 17 against Creighton.
- Junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate on Saturday, picking up three of the Crusaders’ five hits.
- Valpo left eight runners on base over the five innings and was just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, versus a 6-for-11 performance by Oakland. Over the series’ three games, the Crusaders were just 3-for-31 with runners in scoring position.
- Junior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) started for the third straight game and took the loss, falling to 17-10.
The Crusaders (24-21, 11-10 Horizon) close out the regular season with a three-game set against Wright State next weekend, starting with a single game Friday at 1 p.m.
Crusaders Return to Horizon League Championship Match
It was by no means easy, but the Valparaiso University men’s tennis team is headed back to the Horizon League Championship match for the third consecutive season. The Crusaders started the league tournament by edging out Youngstown State 4-3 in a heart-pounding Saturday semifinal at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Now, Valpo finds itself one win removed from securing a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis. / Fond du Lac) was the hero, winning his match with all other courts finished to help the Crusaders stave off a significant upset bid.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (21-3) got off to a good start by taking the doubles point from the Penguins (19-8). Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) and Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) secured a win at No. 2 doubles in the first match to finish, beating Danylo Veremeichuk and Joao Garretto 6-3 at No. 2.
- Dunn and Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) bested Yossi Dahan and Matthew Kritzinger 6-3 at No. 3 doubles to latch down the doubles point.
- Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) and Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill. / Niles North) played a back-and-forth match with Mitch Maroscher and Thomas Rodrigues at No. 1. The Crusaders trailed in the match 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, 5-4 and 6-5, but came back to win the following game on each occasion. The No. 1 doubles match was headed to a tiebreak at 6-6, but went unfinished as No. 3 doubles wrapped up to allow Valpo to nail down the doubles point.
- Rodrigues got the best of Emhardt 6-0, 6-3 at No. 3 singles in the first match to finish, allowing the Penguins to level the match at 1-1.
- Veremeichuk defeated Kissell 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 singles, permitting the Penguins to gain a 2-1 edge in the match.
- Schorsch got past Maroscher at No. 1 singles, 6-4, 6-3. After Maroscher got the break to make it 4-4 in Set 1, Schorsch broke right back to give himself a chance to serve for the set. He did so successfully, winning the opening set 6-4 by taking the last two games. His 6-3 win in the second set made him the first singles winner for the Crusaders, working the match back to even at 2-2.
- Garretto topped Bacalla 7-6, 6-3 at No. 4 singles, giving the Penguins a 3-2 lead in the match and putting the Crusaders in a position where they were required to win both No. 5 and No. 6 singles to dodge a massive upset.
- Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) earned a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Dahan at No. 6. Leading 4-3, Ancona rallied from down 0-30 to win an important game, making it 5-3, but Dahan fended off two match points to win a point at deuce, taking the game to make it 5-4, then he got the break to draw even at 5-5. Ancona followed by breaking Dahan’s serve to go up 6-5 and set up another chance to serve for the match. Ancona reached his third match point at deuce and this time secured the straight sets win.
- With every other court finished, all eyes turned to No. 5 singles. Dunn prevailed against Luke Purser 7-6, 6-3. Dunn clinched the win with an ace on match point.
Inside the Match
- The Crusaders secured their 22nd win of the season, matching the program record set a year ago. They’ve got a chance to go where no Valpo team has gone before by nailing down win No. 23 on Sunday.
- Schorsch picked up his program-record 110th career singles victory while racking up his 26th win of the season. Schorsch is still three wins away from matching his single-season program record of 29 set in 2015-16.
- Dunn also boosted his season win total to 26, as he remains tied with Schorsch for the team lead. The 26 single-season wins rank tied for fifth in program history. Dunn has rapped off six straight singles wins, the team’s longest active winning streak.
- Schorsch is now 20-1 in the spring season. All 20 of his dual match victories have come in straight sets.
- The doubles win was Emhardt’s 27th of the season. He’s now one behind Schorsch for the team lead. The program record set by Schorsch and Emhardt in 2014-15 is 30. Emhardt extended his program record with his 113th career doubles triumph.
- Emhardt and Kissell remain unbeaten when playing together as they move to 8-0 as a doubles combo.
- Dunn and Gardner remain undefeated against Horizon League opponents this season. They went 5-0 as a combo in league doubles matches during the regular season. They are 16-4 overall and 11-2 in dual competition.
- The Crusaders are 16-0 against Horizon League opponents (including league tournament matches) over the last two seasons.
- This match was much closer than the regular season meeting between Valpo and Youngstown State on March 25, when the Crusaders prevailed 7-0.
The Crusaders will play the winner of Detroit Mercy and Cleveland State for the Horizon League title and the right to advance to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. CT at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Neal Ruhl providing play-by-play. Links to live video will be available on ValpoAthletics.com
Series Finale Postponed by Rain
The Valparaiso University baseball team has announced that the third game of its weekend series at Youngstown State, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday, has been postponed due to inclement weather.
The series finale is now set for Sunday at 11 a.m. CT at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Drop Both Games of Friday’s Doubleheader
The Valparaiso University baseball team had late leads in both games of Friday’s doubleheader with Youngstown State at Eastwood Stadium in Niles, Ohio, but the Crusaders couldn’t hold on to the edge in either game. The Penguins walked off with a 6-5 win in the opener, then rallied for five in the eighth to beat the Crusaders 9-7 in Game 2.
How It Happened – Game 1
- The Crusaders played from behind early as the Penguins jumped on the board with three in the second including a two-run home run by Kyle Benyo, his eighth of the season.
- The Penguins tacked on a run in the third as Andrew Kendrick doubled and scored on a single by Trey Bridis.
- The Crusaders changed the complexion of the game with a four-run fourth inning. Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif. / Oaks Christian) led off with a double to get things going and eventually scored on an RBI single by Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North). Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian), who had singled, was awarded the plate on a balk against Youngstown State starter Collin Floyd.
- The Valpo fourth continued as Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) stayed hot by ripping a run-scoring double down the right-field line, then Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) followed with an extra-base knock down the left-field line that allowed Garbella to trot home.
- Barczi led off the sixth inning with a triple, spelling the end of Floyd’s day. Sam Shaikin (West Hill, Calif. / Chatsworth) lifted a sac fly to put the Crusaders in the 5-4 lead, but after that reliever Joel Hake locked down, working three shutout innings that proved to be pivotal.
- After allowing four runs in the first three innings, Valpo starting pitcher Mario Losi (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) held the Penguins scoreless for the remainder of his outing. He left in position to get the win after scattering 10 hits and one walk over seven innings while yielding four runs and striking out four.
- Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) came on to pitch the eighth with Valpo leading 5-4, but the Penguins produced a run on a Trey Bridis sacrifice fly to tie the game at five.
- Valpo had a golden chance to regain the lead in the top of the ninth as they had runners at second and third with one away, but Valpo failed to score.
- The Penguins walked off with the win in the bottom of the ninth as Alex Larivee delivered a pinch-hit ground-rule double. Lou Cardona, whose pinch runner scored the winning run, had reached on an error, making the winning run unearned.
How It Happened – Game 2
- Youngstown State again struck first in the nightcap, scoring twice in the second inning as Lorenzo Arcuri ripped a run-scoring triple and Cardona singled to right. Neither run was earned against Valpo starting pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge), as a throwing error had extended the inning.
- Garbella continued his recent surge with a run-scoring double in the fourth to slice the lead in half, then Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) followed by crushing a two-run two-bagger to left to put the Crusaders in front 3-2.
- Benyo singled through the left side to tie the game at three in the fourth, but the Crusaders quickly bounced back and regained the lead. Palace launched a two-run homer in the fifth. The Crusaders had runners at second and third and one away with a chance for more in the fifth, but they settled for two.
- Tieman left with no decision after four innings (6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO), then Hayden Kissee (Indianapolis, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskasia College]) turned in two scoreless frames in relief. At the time of his exit, he was in position for a win.
- Chet Joslyn (Battle Creek, Mich. / Lakeview) yielded a home run to Shane Willoughby that cut the lead to 5-4 in the seventh, but then Garbella drilled a two-run bomb in the eighth, which seemed like it could be the clinching blow.
- That’s when the Penguins put together a five-run eighth inning. Joslyn walked the first two batters, then Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski) came in and eventually allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits in 1/3 of an inning before being removed.
- Joe King came on and nailed down his fifth save in the top of the ninth as the Penguins held on for a wacky 9-7 win.
Inside the Games
- Shaikin’s 23-game on-base streak was snapped in the opener, but he bounced back with two hits in the second game.
- After doubling in the opener, Garbella racked up three hits and three RBIs in the nightcap.
- Rhodehouse was hit with the defeat in relief in the opener to drop to 3-5, while King climbed to 3-5 by picking up the victory. King achieved the unique feat of picking up a win and nailing down a save in the same day.
- Zack Minney was awarded the Game 2 win in relief to improve to 1-1, while Luke VanLanen was hit with the defeat to drop to 1-1.
- Barczi and Kapers had two hits apiece to pace the Crusaders in the opener.
- With his two RBIs in the second game, Palace lifted his career total to 113, moving into a tie with Kurt Gessee (1982-86) for 10th in program history. Palace’s long ball was his team-leading eighth of the season.
The Crusaders and Penguins are scheduled to play the series finale on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. The game day and time is subject to change due to an unfavorable weather forecast. Check back with ValpoAthletics.com for updates.
Rally Comes Up Short As Crusaders Fall Twice to Grizzlies
As it has done so often this season, the Valparaiso University softball team rallied in the seventh inning to force extra innings in its nightcap with Oakland Friday from the Valpo Softball Complex, but in the end, the Crusaders couldn’t close out the comeback, as the Golden Grizzlies scored in the 11th inning for a 4-3 final. Oakland took both of Friday’s games, claiming the opener by a score of 9-2.
How It Happened – Game One
- After a scoreless first three frames, Oakland scored two in the top of the fourth on a single and subsequent Crusader error.
- Valpo cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth, as freshman Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) launched a no-doubt solo homer over the scoreboard in left-center.
- An error proved costly for the Crusaders in the sixth as well, when following a miscue, Danielle Szajna connected on a two-run homer to extend the Golden Grizzlies’ lead to 4-1.
- Sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) delivered a run-scoring triple in the bottom of the sixth to plate junior Jasmine Ramirez (Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium) and make it a 4-2 game.
- But Oakland put the game away in the top of the seventh, scoring five runs on six hits and a Crusader error to close the scoring.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Trailing by two runs entering the bottom of the seventh, freshman Addison Pixley (Osceola, Ind./Penn) led off the inning with a pinch-hit single and Trepanier laced a double to left to put two in scoring position with nobody out.
- Three batters later, with the bases loaded and one away, senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) battled for 13 pitches, fouling off nine offerings, before working a walk to force in a run and cut the lead to 3-2.
- Junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) followed with a deep fly ball in foul territory down the left field line, more than enough to allow Trepanier to tag up and score on a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 3-3.
- It looked like junior Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) might give the Crusaders the walk-off win right then and there with a soft grounder on the infield, but she was ruled out at first as the game went to extras.
- Both teams had opportunities to score before the decisive 11th inning. Oakland had a runner on third with two outs in the eighth, but freshman Emily Richardson (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) recorded a big strikeout to keep the Golden Grizzlies off the board. Oakland also had two on with two outs in the ninth, but could not convert.
- Callaghan was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the 10th and moved up 60 feet apiece on a pair of bunts, but a groundout sent the game to the 11th inning.
- Mikayela Marciniak led off the top of the 11th with a double and came around to score the game-winning run on a two-bagger from Kelsie Swanson. Magnifico kept hope alive in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out double, but a strikeout closed out the nightcap in the Golden Grizzlies’ favor.
- Oakland opened the scoring on a first-inning solo homer from Marciniak, and added a single run in the fourth. The Crusaders got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, as Calombaris led off the inning with a single and came around to score on a well-executed squeeze bunt by junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara).
- The Golden Grizzlies added to their lead courtesy of a Valpo error in the top of the seventh, setting up the two-run comeback to force extras.
Inside the Games
- The pair of losses dropped Valpo into sixth place in the league standings, but the Crusaders are still just 1.5 games out of second place with four games remaining.
- This will be just the second Horizon League series this season the Crusaders have lost.
- Valpo entered the day with just 40 errors through 42 games this season and only 19 miscues in 18 league games, but committed six errors over the two losses.
- Calombaris picked up a pair of hits in the opener, while senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.
- Junior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) took the loss in the opener, falling to 17-9 despite surrendering just one earned run in four innings of work.
- Calombaris also delivered a pair of hits in the nightcap and was joined by Trepanier in a two-hit effort.
- Richardson had a strong relief outing before taking the loss in the day’s second game, tossing the final 7.1 innings and giving up just two runs – one earned – while striking out eight.
- Erin Kownacki earned both wins for Oakland, throwing a complete game in the opener before entering for four innings of relief in the nightcap.
- The Crusaders left 23 runners on base over the two losses on Friday and were just 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position.
Valparaiso (24-20, 11-9 Horizon) and Oakland are slated to finish out the series on Saturday with a noon first pitch. With potential inclement weather, scheduling updates will be provided at ValpoAthletics.com and on athletics and softball social media.
Schorsch Wins Player of the Year, Valpo Hauls in Men’s Tennis Postseason Awards
The Horizon League regular season champion Valparaiso University men’s tennis team was well represented as the league announced its postseason awards at Thursday night’s banquet in advance of this weekend’s Horizon League Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich.
It came as no surprise when Valpo No. 1 singles player Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) was named the Horizon League Player of the Year for the third straight season. Schorsch becomes the first player in league history to win the Player of the Year award outright three times. Butler’s Brandon Curie was also a three-time honoree from 2000-2002, but he was the co-Player of the Year in 2001.
Veteran Valpo men’s tennis coach Jim Daugherty was named the Coach of the Year for the second straight season, while sophomore Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) joined Schorsch on the all-league first team and senior Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) nailed down a place on the all-league second team.
Kissell has achieved all-league first team recognition in each of his first two collegiate seasons, while Emhardt is on the all-league second team for the second straight year.
Schorsch finished the regular season with a program-record 111 career singles wins. He went 25-6 overall, 19-1 in dual matches and 7-0 in Horizon League play this year. Schorsch and Emhardt were the ITA National Indoor doubles runners-up in the fall and have been nationally ranked throughout the spring, reaching as high as No. 8.
Kissell is 20-10 overall, 13-7 in dual matches and 5-1 in league play, competing mostly at No. 2 singles. Daugherty guided his squad to a 21-3 record and their second consecutive perfect league season, as the Crusaders finished 7-0 against league opponents. Daugherty has been at the helm of Valpo’s program since 1985. He’s led the program to new heights in recent years, as the Crusaders enter this week’s Horizon League Tournament two wins away from setting the school wins record for the fourth straight season.
The league tournament begins on Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich., but the Crusaders have a first-round bye and will not play until Saturday. They’ll face off with the winner of a first-round showdown between No. 4 Youngstown State and No. 5 Northern Kentucky. Valpo beat the Penguins 7-0 and the Norse 6-1 in the regular season.
Saturday’s league semifinal, which begins at 10 a.m. CT, will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Neal Ruhl handling play-by-play. Links to live coverage will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.