The drama was palpable for the Valpo softball team Saturday in its opener Saturday at the Charleston Invitational, as the Beacons fell behind Lipscomb, 5-0 after 2 ½ innings, before rallying for a 7-6 victory. Valpo extended its winning streak to five consecutive games with an explosive offensive output in the nightcap, recording 16 hits in a 10-4 win over Holy Cross.
How It Happened – Lipscomb
- The Bisons posted three runs in the top of the first and added two more in the third to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
- Valpo got the comeback started with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of a Lipscomb error to allow Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) to score and plating another run as Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) came home on a wild pitch.
- The Beacons sliced another run off the deficit in the fourth with a two-out RBI single from Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South).
- The fifth inning saw Valpo gain its first lead of the game. Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) tied the game at 5-5 with a two-run double, bringing home Herschbach and Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota).
- Later in the frame, pinch-runner Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) moved up to third base on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball.
- Lipscomb briefly tied the game with a run in the top of the sixth, but Valpo came back with the game-winning run in its half of the frame. Hecker connected on a one-out double, moved up to third on a wild pitch and took home on a subsequent throwing error to give the Beacons a 7-6 lead.
- A leadoff single for the Bisons in the top of the seventh turned into a runner in scoring position with one out following a sacrifice bunt. Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) kept that runner on second to finish out the win, however, registering a strikeout before inducing a groundout to close the game out.
How It Happened – Holy Cross
- The Crusaders forced Valpo to again come from behind, as Holy Cross plated a single run in the first and second innings.
- Facing a two-run deficit entering the fourth inning, Valpo exploded for a six-spot, batting around in the inning to take a 6-2 lead.
- The Beacons moved the line impressively in the six-run frame, as all six plate appearances with a runner on third resulted in that runner being driven in. Valpo also took advantage of five first-and-third situations to steal four bases in the inning.
- Perhaps just as importantly after the six-run inning, the Beacons kept Holy Cross off the board in the bottom of the fourth after the Crusaders loaded the bases with one out.
- Milkowski extended Valpo’s lead to six runs in the top of the fifth with a two-run double. While Holy Cross scored a single run apiece in the fifth and the sixth, the Beacons maintained the clear edge thanks to an RBI grounder from Emily Crompton (Salem, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran) in the top of the sixth and an RBI double by Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville) in the top of the seventh.
Inside the Games
- Valpo has won five consecutive games for the first time since it went on a six-game winning streak late in the 2018 season.
- Combined with Friday’s pair of one-run wins, Saturday’s one-run victory over Lipscomb gave the Beacons three straight wins which all came by a sing/le run for the first time since late in the 2013 campaign.
- The five-run comeback against Lispcomb was the program’s largest comeback since overcoming a 5-0 deficit for a 7-5 victory over Indiana State on April 20, 2019.
- The 10 runs Valpo scored in the win over Holy Cross was its highest single-game output since a 12-1 win over Stetson on March 1, 2020.
- The Beacons picked up 16 hits against Holy Cross, just one base knock shy of the program’s single-game top-five. Five of Valpo’s hits versus the Crusaders were doubles, tying for fourth-most in a single game in program history.
- Hecker tallied five hits over Saturday’s two games, picking up two versus Lipscomb before recording her first career three-hit game against Holy Cross, a performance which included two doubles. The sophomore now has three multi-hit games this season, matching her total from her rookie season.
- Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) also tallied a pair of hits against Lipscomb as part of a three-hit day over the two games.
- Milkowski’s game-tying double against the Bisons set up a monster game for the junior in the nightcap against Holy Cross. Milkowski went 4-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs in the win over the Crusaders.
- Milkowski is now tied for second for hits in a single game in program history, as it was Valpo’s first four-hit game since Moeder registered a quartet of hits last March against WKU. Milkowski also tied her career best with three RBIs in the win.
- Hecker and Milkowski accounted for two of Valpo’s five multi-hit games in the victory against Holy Cross. Herschbach, Moeder and Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]) all had two hits apiece as well in the winning effort.
- Seib earned both of the winning decisions in the circle on Saturday with her relief work. She pitched two innings out of the bullpen in the win over Lipscomb, and came back with 5.2 innings of action in the win over Holy Cross, scattering nine hits while giving up just one earned run to improve to 3-1 on the season.
- Cheyenne Nietz (Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem) had a strong effort in the circle against Lipscomb, striking out five batters in four innings of work. Nietz entered with Valpo trailing 3-0 and exited in line for the win, as the Beacons led 6-5.
Valpo (5-3) looks for the perfect weekend on Sunday, but it will take a quick turnaround, as the Beacons take on Binghamton at 9 a.m. CT. Live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.