The Valpo softball team continued Missouri Valley Conference play on Sunday with the first two games of a three-game series with visiting Southern Illinois. The Salukis took both games of Sunday’s doubleheader, winning the opener by a 10-4 final before claiming a 10-1 victory in the nightcap.
How It Happened – Game One
- SIU scored two runs without the benefit of a hit in the top of the first, and added another tally in the top of the second. The Beacons escaped a pair of jams in those frames to limit the damage, as the Salukis left the bases loaded in both frames.
- Valpo cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) led off the inning with a double to the wall in left and eventually came around to score on an RBI single back through the middle from Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus).
- A miscue in the outfield by the SIU center fielder on that hit allowed Tonoian to scoot all the way around to third, putting her in position to trot home on an opposite-field single from Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) and cut the deficit to 3-2 at the end of the second.
- A leadoff homer in the top of the third pushed the Salukis’ lead back to two runs at 4-2, but Valpo evened things up in its next turn at the plate. Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) led off the frame with a single and later scored on a SIU wild pitch, while pinch-runner Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) tied the game up at 4-4 as she scored on an RBI base knock by Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]).
- SIU broke the game open in the top of the fourth, as the Salukis put five runs on the board — four of which scored with two outs. SIU added its final run in the seventh, while Valpo was able to get just one runner into scoring position over the final four innings.
How It Happened – Game Two
- SIU took control immediately in the nightcap, taking advantage of five hits and two Valpo errors to plate five runs — all of which were unearned — in the first inning.
- After the Salukis got a leadoff single to start the second, Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) retired the next 10 SIU hitters in order, a span which stretched into the fifth inning.
- Valpo got on the board in its half of the third, as Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) led off the inning with a single back up the middle and took advantage of a SIU error to give the Beacons their first run of the game.
- A strikeout stranded two runners on base that frame, however, as Valpo looked to cut further into its deficit, and the Beacons did not get a player past first base the remainder of the game. SIU scored one in the fifth and four in the seventh to cap the scoring.
Inside the Games
- Sunday’s twinbill started a stretch in which Valpo is slated to play eight home games over a seven-day span, taking the field to play on six of those seven days. Thursday is the only day without a game on the schedule this week.
- Valpo touched up SIU first game starter Sarah Harness — a reigning Second Team All-MVC hurler — for four runs on nine hits after getting just seven hits combined off of her in a pair of shutouts last season.
- Moeder and Johnson each had multi-hit efforts in the opener. For Johnson, it was her second career two-hit game and her first of the year, while Moeder has a team-best six multi-hit games this year.
- Kehlenbrink also reached base twice in the opener with a double and a walk.
- Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) was charged with the loss in the opener despite striking out five batters in 2.2 innings of relief work. Madison Wathen (Floyds Knobs, Ind./Floyd Central) surrendered just one run in 3.1 innings out of the bullpen to close the game.
- Seib started and went the distance in the circle in the nightcap. The junior did not walk a batter and was not charged with an earned run until the seventh inning.
Valpo (9-20, 1-10 MVC) tries to close the series with a victory on Monday afternoon when it hosts the Salukis at noon. Live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.