Junior Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) recorded her first career four-hit game and the Valpo softball team took a 2-0 lead over WKU in the sixth inning Sunday in its pre-conference finale from the Red & Black Challenge in Louisville, Ky., but the Hilltoppers used a big bottom of the sixth to earn the 9-2 win.
How It Happened
- The game was a scoreless battle through five innings, but not for a lack of scoring opportunities for the two teams.
- Valpo twice left the bases loaded in the first four innings, leaving the bags full in the first following three consecutive walks and in the fourth after two infield singles and a walk.
- Moeder gave Valpo a stellar scoring chance in the second frame, singling to lead off the inning, stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error with nobody out. But she would stay 60 feet shy of the plate.
- Meanwhile, WKU had its chances as well, but Valpo starter Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) did well to keep the Hilltoppers off the board.
- WKU put a runner in scoring position with one out in each of the first four innings, and twice got that runner to third base with two away.
- Kowalski set the side down in order for the first time in the fifth inning for her fifth straight scoreless frame.
- Valpo finally broke through in the top of the sixth. Moeder singled with one out, and two batters later, sophomore Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) delivered a pinch-hit single.
- Consecutive run-scoring singles with two strikes ensued from junior Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport township) and senior Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) to give Valpo the 2-0 lead.
- The lead lasted just three pitches into the bottom of the sixth, however, as WKU’s Kennedy Sullivan connected on a two-run homer. That launched an inning during which the Hilltoppers sent 14 batters to the plate and scored nine runs.
- Valpo looked for a seventh-inning rally with junior Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) and Moeder picking up back-to-back two-out hits, but a strikeout closed out the game.
Inside the Game
- Moeder went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate for her first career four-hit game and the first four-hit game by a Valpo player this year.
- The four-hit effort is tied with many others for the second-most in a single game in program history. The last four-hit game by a Valpo player came last February by Kehlenbrink against Fordham.
- Burke reached base twice as well with a base hit and a walk, while sophomore Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) drew a walk and was hit by a pitch.
- Senior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) reached base via walk and has now reached in six straight games.
- As a team, Valpo posted nine hits, five walks and one hit batter on Sunday. But the Brown and Gold left 12 runners on base and went just 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
- Kowalski took the loss in the circle, giving up four runs in 5.2 innings of work to fall to 3-4 on the year.
- Burke handled five chances without an error at second base (four putouts, one assist) and now has 57 chances defensively on the year with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Valpo (4-9) opens MVC play next weekend at Bradley. The Brown and Gold will play a four-game series with the Braves, with the second game on Sunday to be a non-conference game. All four games are slated to be broadcast on The Valley on ESPN.