The Valparaiso University softball team came out on the wrong end of a pair of games in Missouri Valley Conference play Saturday afternoon in Evansville, Ind., as the host Purple Aces won the opener of a doubleheader, 9-1, before claiming the nightcap by a 6-2 final.
How It Happened – Game One
- Freshman Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) made a great diving catch to open the bottom of the first, going to her left from her center field position to lay out in the right-center gap and make a grab as the Purple Aces went down in order in the opening inning.
- Valpo claimed the lead in the top of the second. Sophomore Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) led off the frame with a double to the wall in center. The Crusaders then played small ball to bring her home, as senior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) advanced Anderson to third with a sacrifice bunt before junior Hannah Dybalski (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) recorded an RBI groundout to give Valpo the 1-0 lead.
- Evansville would take the lead in its next turn at the plate, as a two-run homer from McKenzie Johnson gave the Purple Aces a 2-1 advantage. Eryn Gould then connected on a solo homer in the third to make it 3-1 Evansville.
- The Purple Aces scored a pair of runs following a wild pitch in the fourth inning, and then closed out the game with a four-run sixth inning.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Evansville took the lead three batters into the nightcap, scoring a single run in the first. The Purple Aces then plated three runs in the second inning before the game entered a lightning delay.
- After a 34-minute stoppage, freshman Taylor Knight (Omaha, Neb./Elkhorn South) came out and retired three of the next four batters to close out the second inning and keep the deficit at 4-0.
- The Purple Aces added another run to their tally without the benefit of a hit in the third inning, making it 5-0.
- After going the first four innings without a hit, two big swings from Valpo hitters resulted in a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. Lawton stepped up with one out and laced a double to the left-center gap. Junior Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) fell behind 0-2 in the count before drilling a no-doubt homer off the scoreboard in left-center, her second round-tripper of the season, to make it a 5-2 game.
- Johnson connected on a solo homer for Evansville in the sixth to close out the scoring. Valpo put a pair of runners on in the top of the seventh on base hits from Anderson and Matalin, but was unable to bring the potential tying run to the plate.
Inside the Games
- Matalin now owns five career home runs, all of which have come within conference play. She hit one four-bagger as a freshman in the Horizon League, and has four homers in MVC action over the last two seasons.
- Matalin picked up a pair of hits in the nightcap, her fifth multi-hit game of the year.
- Anderson picked up hits in both games, while Lawton had four productive plate appearances out of five over the two games (double, two walks, sacrifice bunt).
- Freshman Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) stole her 13th base in 14 attempts this year in the opener. She is now just four stolen bases away from Valpo’s single-season top-10 chart in the category.
Valpo (15-26, 4-18 MVC) closes out the three-game series against Evansville on Sunday morning, with first pitch slated for 11 a.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.