Freshman pitcher Cheyenne Nietz (Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem) tossed the best game of her young Valpo career on Sunday in softball’s series finale at Indiana State, throwing a four-hit shutout as the Beacons earned their first win in MVC play with a 1-0 triumph over the Sycamores. Valpo dropped Sunday’s opener to the Sycamores, 9-0.
How It Happened – Game One
- Valpo had a scoring opportunity in the top of the first, as Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) led off the game by getting hit by a pitch and eventually moved up to third, but the senior was unable to complete the circuit around the bases.
- Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]) led off the second inning with a double, but advanced no further before being erased on the basepaths.
- Indiana State scored four runs in the first inning and added three more in the second before tacking on one apiece in the third and the fourth frames.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Valpo scored the only run it would need in the top of the third. Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) dropped down a bunt single to open the inning and moved 60 feet apiece on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout before Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) delivered an RBI single.
- The Beacons advanced just one other runner past first base in the series finale, but it made no difference as Nietz was dealing in the circle.
- Nietz did not allow a base hit until the fourth inning, and the Sycamores didn’t get a runner into scoring position until consecutive one-out walks in the sixth. But the rookie induced a flyout and a groundout to keep Indiana State off the board.
- The bottom of the seventh turned into a nail biter, as Indiana State loaded the bases with two outs. With the potential tying run 60 feet away and the potential winning run on second, and facing perennial All-MVC honoree Bella Peterson at the plate, Nietz bore down and got a fly ball to left to escape the threat and close out the shutout.
Inside the Games
- The win was Valpo’s first at Indiana State since joining the MVC. It also snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Sycamores.
- Valpo posted a 1-2 record on the road in the opening weekend of conference play for the third straight season.
- Valpo rebounded from being run-ruled in the day’s first game to win the second game for the first time since February 2018, when it fell 16-3 to Eastern Kentucky before beating Charleston Southern, 5-4. It is the first time it has happened in league play since April 2015, when Valpo rebounded for a win to earn a doubleheader split at Detroit.
- Valpo earned its second 1-0 win of the season, as Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) tossed a shutout in a 1-0 win over Charleston earlier this year. Prior to this year, the program’s last 1-0 win had come in April 2018, and the team had last won multiple 1-0 games in the same season in 2013.
- Moeder had a strong day at the plate, reaching in four of her five plate appearances — three hits and a hit by pitch. Even her one out was productive, as it came in the third inning of game two — the grounder which moved Westphal to third base and put her in position to score the game’s lone run.
- Herschbach picked up a pair of hits as well in the second game of the day.
- Westphal’s run was her 11th of the season, tying her for team-high honors.
- Nietz tossed her second complete game of the season and earned her first collegiate win with the shutout in the series finale. She scattered four hits and worked around five walks while striking out five Sycamores.
- Seib took the loss in the opener, despite being charged with just four earned runs.
Valpo (9-11, 1-2 MVC) steps out of Valley play for a mid-week game on Wednesday at Western Michigan. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. CT.