Next: YSU vs. Akron, (DH) Tuesday, 3 and 5 p.m.
By Jim Flick
The YSU softball team battled until the last out of the last inning, but dropped a doubleheader Sunday to Horizon League rival Valparaiso.
In the first game, Valparaiso (25-17-1, 8-6 Horizon League) defeated YSU 4-2. The second game was a slugfest, with Valparaiso winning 14-11.
The Penguins (21-16, 4-9) scored the last four runs on the second game, which provided some solace for coach Brian Campbell. In fact, YSU outhit VU 16-14 in the second game. The teams smacked 22 hits each during doubleheader.
“I’m proud of how the ladies fought. They kept fighting until the last of the seventh inning, but came up a little short,” Campbell said.
Valparaiso coach Jordan Stevens said he knew scoring would be key.
“YSU is the best hitting team in the league,” Stevens said. “We knew we’d have to put up a lot runs to beat them.”
When asked to explain his team’s offensive success, Stevens said, “It’s all about taking good at-bats.
“That’s our game plan. If you take good at-bats, and stay with that, good things will happen, and today they did.”
In the first game, the visiting Crusaders grabbed an early lead when pitcher Alex Lagesse (9-10) singled to center to drive in the first run of the day, giving Valparaiso a 1-0 lead.
The Penguins struck back in the third and took a 2-1 lead. Junior Kristen Philen singled to start the rally, and junior Haley Thomas followed with a double. Second baseman Kristina Rendle, a senior, and junior right fielder Jordan Ingalls tapped infield grounders that brought home runs.
YSU held the lead until the top of the seventh, Valparaiso smashed two home runs in the top of the seventh to score three runs and capture a 4-2 victory.
The Penguins’ starter in the first game was freshman Casey Crozier (11-8), who is a Valparaiso native.
In the sixth inning of the second game, Valparaiso scored four runs on three hits and two walks to take a 9-5 lead. But YSU answered with a two-run homer by shortstop Kristen Philen to cut the deficit to 9-7.
In the top of the seventh, the Crusaders seemed to put the game out of reach, scoring five runs to take a 14-7 lead. The assault included Sadie Conner’s third home run of the game, a blast that tied her for second place on Valparaiso’s all-time list.
YSU’s Kim Klonowski smacked her second double of the day in the bottom of the seventh. She was replaced by pinch runner Kelly Fox. Designated player Amanda Palmore then walked, and gave way to pinch runner Shayla DeCapita. Third baseman Carrie Snodgrass singled to load the bases.
The next batter, left fielder Sarah Gable, cut the 14-9 when she doubled, bringing home two runs.
But the Penguins weren’t done as Philen doubled to drive home two more runs.
That was all the Penguins could manage.