March 20, 20211234567RHE
Win: French (4-2) 6.183332
Loss: Kowalski (3-5) 5.275510
Anderson (VALPO) 403000
Mead (BRAD) 313000

March 20, 202112345RHE
Win: Radford (4-3) 5.041115
Loss: Seib (1-5) 1.056501
Herschbach (VALPO) 301100
Crompton (VALPO) 111000
Westphal (VALPO) 201000
Skapyak (VALPO) 201000
Zaluske (BRAD) 322110
Blume (BRAD) 412100
Smith (BRAD) 212400
Mead (BRAD) 322300
Softball Drops Conference Openers at Bradley
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Softball Drops Conference Openers at Bradley
Lauren Kehlenbrink helped Valpo jump to a lead in the opener with a run-scoring double.

The Valpo softball team opened Missouri Valley Conference play Saturday with a doubleheader at Bradley. The Brown and Gold jumped out to the lead in the opener before the Braves rallied for a 5-3 victory, and Bradley completed the doubleheader with a 16-1 win in the nightcap.

How It Happened – Game One

  • Valpo got the scoring going in the opener in the top of the third inning. Junior Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) led off the frame with a double, and after she was sacrificed over to third, sophomore Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) laid down a perfect squeeze to score Herschbach and give Valpo the lead.
  • Milkowski added to the advantage later in the inning as she crossed the plate on a run-scoring double from classmate Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South).
  • Bradley loaded the bases with one out in its half of the third, but was limited to just one run on a sacrifice fly as Valpo led 2-1 through three complete.
  • Junior Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) gave Valpo a shot to extend its advantage by leading off the fourth with a triple, but she was stranded 60 feet away as the lead remained one run.
  • Bradley took the lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth, stringing together three straight hits to score a pair of runs. The damage could have been worse, but freshman Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) made a highlight-reel catch at the fence earlier in the inning.
  • The Braves added two more in the sixth on a two-run homer.
  • Down three in its final time at bat, Valpo looked to rally, loading the bases with one out on two walks and a single. Kehlenbrink brought home a run with a sacrifice fly, but a groundout ended the game.

How It Happened – Game Two

  • Bradley took control as it scored 10 runs in the second inning. The Braves added two runs in the third and four in the fourth.
  • Herschbach recorded an RBI double in the fifth to get Valpo on the board, scoring freshman Emily Crompton (Salem, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran), who had a pinch-hit infield single earlier in the frame.

Inside the Games

  • This is the second straight MVC schedule Valpo has kicked off at Bradley. In 2019, Valpo lost both ends of a Saturday doubleheader, but came back to take the series finale.
  • Senior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) registered three hits in Saturday’s opener, the first three-hit game of her career.
  • Junior Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) picked up her second consecutive multi-hit game with a two-hit effort in the opener.
  • Coming off a weekend where she posted a .600 on-base percentage, Milkowski reached base twice in the opener as she drew a pair of walks.
  • The Valpo offense left 10 runners on base in the first game and went just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
  • Freshman Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) took the loss in the circle, giving up five runs in 5.2 innings of work.
  • Crompton’s hit in the nightcap was her first career hit in the Brown and Gold.
  • Sophomore Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) threw one-plus innings in her start in the second game and was charged with the loss.

Next Up

Valpo (4-11, 0-2 MVC) closes out the conference-opening series at Bradley with an 11 a.m. first pitch for Sunday’s single game. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.