April 30, 20221234567RHE
Illinois State010230X660
Win: Ross (10-13) 7.082217
Loss: Nietz (3-6) 4.156533
Skapyak (VALPO) 212000
Knight (ILS) 312200
Kennedy (ILS) 312201
Softball Denied By Illinois State in Series Opener
Saturday, April 30, 2022
Softball Denied By Illinois State in Series Opener
Jaina Westphal tags out an Illinois State runner attempting to steal Saturday.

The Valpo softball team owned a 2-1 lead through three innings against host Illinois State Saturday afternoon in Normal, Ill., but the Redbirds were able to take advantage of scoring opportunities in the middle innings to come away with a 6-2 victory. The second game of Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader was postponed due to thunderstorms and will be made up as part of a Sunday twinbill.

How It Happened

  • Illinois State took the initial lead with a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the second.
  • The Beacons used some small ball to go in front in the top of the third. Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) led off the frame by beating out an infield single, and Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) followed with a bunt single to put two on with nobody out.
  • After a successful sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position, Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) used her speed to also leg out an infield single to load the bases. A pair of wild pitches from Redbird pitcher Hannah Ross allowed first pinch-runner Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) and then Skapyak to score and give the Beacons a 2-1 lead.
  • Valpo had a strong chance to add to its advantage to the top of the fourth, with Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) leading off the inning with a bunt single and Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville) walking to put two on with nobody out. A sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position, but they would be stranded there.
  • The Redbirds plated a pair in the bottom of the fourth to re-take the lead, 3-2, but it looked like the Beacons would respond immediately, as Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) lined a triple to center to lead off the fifth. The final 60 feet proved to be elusive, however, as the next three Valpo hitters went down in order.
  • Illinois State closed the scoring with a three-run fifth, as the Beacons were unable to put a runner into scoring position in the final two innings.

Inside the Game

  • The loss was Valpo’s first of the season when out-hitting its opponents. The Beacons picked up eight hits in Saturday’s contest while limiting the Redbirds to six hits.
  • Skapyak picked up her second multi-hit game of the season out of the nine hole in the batting order, going 2-for-2 with a run scored.
  • Weaver continued her hot streak at the plate, reaching base twice with a hit and a walk. She has now reached base in eight straight games, and has reached multiple times in four of those contests.
  • Westphal registered her first triple of the season, but was held without a stolen base for the first time in the last five games.
  • Cheyenne Nietz (Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem) threw the first 4.1 innings in the circle. Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) tossed the final 1.2 innings and was not charged with a run, striking out three.

Next Up

Valpo (12-29, 3-19 MVC) and Illinois State will now close the weekend series with a Sunday doubleheader beginning at noon. Both games are scheduled for broadcast on ESPN3.