Vikings Season Ends with Losses to Valpo

CSU-Valpo (Game One) Box Score

CSU-Valpo (Game Two) Box Score

May 5, 2012

Contact: Tim Ertle

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CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland State softball team dropped its final two games of the 2012 campaign to Valparaiso on Saturday (May 5), losing the first game 6-4 before falling 13-1 in six innings in game two.

The Vikings finish the season with an overall record of 17-39 and a 9-15 mark in Horizon League play. Valparaiso heads into the Horizon League Championships - an event they will host after winning the regular season crown - at 37-16 and 19-5 in the league.

In game one, senior Brittany Bate received the starting nod in the circle. Bate - one of five seniors who was honored as part of `Senior Day' - was the victim of poor defense in the early going.

Both teams scored single runs in the first and fourth innings to make it 2-2 after four innings. At that point, both Crusader runs were unearned.

The Vikings got on the board when Toman doubled in the first and scored on an Andrea Nagy single to right field. Cleveland State tied the game again in the fourth when Sara Shields singled, advanced on a Caila Ferro sacrifice and came in to score on a Crusader error.

After the Vikings evened the score at 2-2 in the fourth, Valpo responded with a four-run fifth to throw the door open. Bate allowed all four runs in that inning and recorded one out before giving way to Shields. She didn't allow a run in her 2 2/3 innings of work and issued just one hit while retiring the other nine batters she faced.

The Vikings chipped away with single runs in the sixth and seventh but fell short in their comeback bid. Each of the final two runs came via the long ball with Shields blasting a solo homer - her seventh of the year - in the sixth inning before Salena Kauffman clubbed her fourth jack of the season to determine the final margin.

Valparaiso starter Sam McGee went the distance in game one and allowed four runs - only three of which were earned - on seven hits. She struck out four and didn't walk a batter while improving to 14-5 in her senior season.

Bate took the loss to fall to 0-2.

Game two saw the Crusader offense come out firing on all cylinders from the onset. They scored two in the first off another CSU senior starting pitcher in Brandy Holmes.

Jordan Rutkowski laced a two-run double in the first and Brittany Duncan hit a three-run home run over the fence in left field to push five Crusader runs across in the first two innings. Sandwiched between the Crusader mini-rallies was Toman scoring on a Shields sacrifice fly.

Toman, who hit a school record 19 homers this season, started the first with a single off Valpo starter Alex Lagesse to reach safely for the 36th consecutive game.

Kelsey Phelan started the third inning with a home run - her fifth of the season - to left field to extend the lead to 6-1 and Valpo scored again in the fourth when an error resulted in a run, ending Holmes' day.

Alex Radjen replaced Holmes and allowed six runs in the sixth - four of which came on Lindsey Norway's first career home run that went for a grand slam.

Megan Bashak, another leader from the senior class, recorded the final three outs in the circle. On the other side, LaGesse retired 16 batters in a row at one point and went the distance to improve to 18-8.