The Valparaiso University softball team enjoyed its best all-around day of the young season Saturday at the Green and White Invitational in Charlotte, N.C. in claiming a pair of victories. Valpo took down College of Charleston in its first game of the day, 5-2, and then run-ruled host Charlotte in the nightcap, 8-0.
How It Happened – College of Charleston
- Both teams had great scoring opportunities in the opening inning. For Valpo, freshman Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) led off with a bunt single and then stole second. The rookie then swiped third, but in attempting to score on an overthrow into left field, got thrown out at the plate.
- In the bottom of the first, the Cougars led off the frame with a walk and a single, and following a stolen base, had runners on second and third with nobody out. After a line-out for the first out, the Cougars attempted a squeeze, but third baseman Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) threw out the lead runner at the plate, and starting pitcher Taylor Knight (Omaha, Neb./Elkhorn South) induced a fly-out to center to keep it a 0-0 game.
- Neither team advanced a runner past second in the next two innings, but Valpo finally broke through on the scoreboard in the fourth. Freshman Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) led off that frame by getting hit by a pitch, and senior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) followed immediately with a first-pitch homer to right to give Valpo a 2-0 lead.
- The Crusaders added another run to their tally later in the inning, as Anderson followed Trepanier’s round-tripper with a double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township).
- College of Charleston cut into the Valpo advantage with a solo homer in the fourth, and then made it a 3-2 game with an RBI double in the fifth. With a runner on second and two out, junior Kelsie Packard (Beloit, Wis./Turner [Rock Valley College]) entered in relief and recorded a big strikeout to keep it a one-run game.
- A clutch two-out hit from the bottom of the order got Valpo some insurance in the sixth. Valpo loaded the bases with one out on two walks and an infield single, and two batters later, junior Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) delivered a double the other way to give Valpo a 5-2 lead.
- Packard got the job done from there, not allowing a Cougar runner past second base in the final two innings and recording strikeouts for four of the final six outs.
How It Happened – Charlotte
- Packard started in the circle against the host 49ers and dominated, allowing just one runner past second base in a two-hit shutout effort.
- Meanwhile, Valpo got all the runs it would need in its first turn at the plate. A pair of walks to the first three batters eventually resulted in two runs scoring, courtesy of a Charlotte error and a wild pitch.
- Westphal led off the bottom of the third with a homer to left. This round-tripper cleared the fence after the freshman went inside the park for her first career homer last weekend.
- Valpo then reached run-rule territory with a five-run fourth inning. Freshman Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) and senior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) sandwiched walks around a Herschbach double to load the bases with nobody out.
- Sophomore Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) drew a bases-loaded walk to score Tonoian, and a wild pitch then allowed Herschbach to scamper home to make it 5-0 Valpo.
- Back-to-back run-scoring singles from Matalin and Westphal followed, pushing the lead to 7-0. Later in the inning, Tonoian stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded for her second plate appearance of the frame and was hit by a pitch, plating Matalin and making it 8-0 Crusaders.
- Packard walked the leadoff Charlotte hitter in the fifth, but retired the next three batters in order to close out the run-rule win.
Inside the Games
- Valpo has now won three straight games dating back to the Princeton game to close the Liberty Challenge.
- The Crusaders have scored 20 runs over their last 19 innings of softball, not counting the 11 runs in three innings against Wagner in the tournament opener which was suspended and not yet official.
- Westphal enjoyed a strong all-around day over the pair of games. The rookie swiped two bases in the win over College of Charleston, giving her six steals in as many attempts this year.
- Westphal then was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with a walk in the win over Charlotte, scoring a run and driving in a pair.
- Trepanier’s home run against the Cougars was her sixth career round-tripper.
- Matalin registered a pair of doubles and drove in two runs against College of Charleston, while Anderson and Lawton reached base twice apiece in that win as well.
- Knight started in the circle against the Cougars and tossed a pair of shutout innings before making way to junior Jenna Edwards (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark [Chattanooga State C.C.]), who earned her first D-I win with 2.2 innings of relief work.
- Packard picked up her second career save in the opening win, throwing the final 2.1 innings without allowing a run and striking out five. The junior then improved to 3-3 on the year with her complete-game shutout against Charlotte, surrendering just two hits while striking out seven for her sixth shutout in a Valpo uniform.
- Packard has now thrown 14.1 consecutive shutout innings over her last three appearances, not counting the three innings of the suspended game against Wagner.
- The balance up and down the lineup was evident in the win over Charlotte, as eight of Valpo’s nine batters reached base and scored a run.
Valpo (4-7) will conclude the Green and White Invitational on Sunday morning. The Valpo-Wagner suspended game from Friday will resume at 8 a.m., with Valpo holding an 11-0 lead entering the top of the fourth inning. The regularly scheduled game between the two squad will follow immediately after the conclusion of the resumed game. Both games will have live stats available.