Contact: Jeff Sattora
Cleveland- In a huge series in the Horizon League softball standings, a Cynthia Woodard grand slam in the first inning of game two helped the Cleveland State Vikings (18-22, 9-7 HL) split a home doubleheader with the Valparaiso Crusaders (24-22, 9-8 HL) Saturday afternoon. After falling in game one 3-2, Woodard's homer helped CSU to a 4-1 game two victory.
The Vikings and Crusaders continue to stay right on top of each other in the Horizon league standings, as Cleveland State currently sits in third place on the year at 9-7, with Valpo right behind in fourth at 9-8.
The Crusaders pushed three runs across in the first game while holding CSU hitless for the first five innings of play to earn the 3-2 win.
After a walk and single put runners on base, Joylyn Ichiyama hit a two-out double to left field to give Valpo a 2-0 lead in the third inning. A solo home run by Tori Brown in the fourth then gave the road team a 3-0 lead with CSU still hitless.
The Vikings finally got in both the hit and run column in the sixth inning, as Darien Ward hit a single to right field and Dara Tomanfollowed with a two run blast to left field to account for the Vikings' only runs of the game. The homer was Toman's 10th of the year, good enough for second on the team and third in the Horizon League.
Despite the lack of offense for most of game one, Cleveland State jumped on the board early in game two, as a four run first inning was enough to pull out the win.
Darien Ward led things off for CSU in the bottom of the first, beating out an infield hit to the shortstop. She was followed by a Toman walk and Erica McNew single to the shortstop to load the bases with no outs.
Cynthia Woodard did not waste the opportunity, as she knocked out a grand slam home run to left field to give the home team a 4-0 lead. Woodard is third on the Vikings with seven home runs on the year.
The four runs was more than enough support for freshman Susan Knight, who picked up her 12th win of the year in the circle for CSU. Knight pitched all seven innings in the win, allowing six hits and one run (zero earned runs) while striking out two batters.
The Vikings and Crusaders will be back at Viking Field tomorrow at noon for the final game of the three game series. The game will also be `Senior Day' for CSU as the Vikings will honor Afton Allred, Caila Ferro and Dara Toman at 11:30 a.m.