April 19, 20231234567RHE
Win: Seib (6-14) 6.060002
Loss: TONIOLO (1-20) 3.032210
WALKER (UIC) 402000
COWING (UIC) 302000
Hecker (VALPO) 312100
Rodas (VALPO) 322100
Beacons Blank UIC; Clinch Season Series
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Beacons Blank UIC; Clinch Season Series
Kaiah Fenters tallied her first career two-RBI game Wednesday.

The location changed on Wednesday, but the result stayed the same — another shutout from the Valpo softball pitching staff as the Beacons earned a 4-0 win at the Valpo Softball Complex over UIC. The shutout, Valpo’s fourth in the last six games, clinched the season series in the Beacons’ favor over their travel partners.

How It Happened

  • A leadoff double off the base of the wall in straightaway center field from freshman Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) to lead off the bottom of the second turned into the game’s first run, as later in the frame, an infield grounder by sophomore Kaiah Fenters (Speedway, Ind./Speedway) brought Rodas home.
  • Valpo doubled its lead in its turn at the plate in the third inning. Fifth-year Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) lined a one-out double to the left-center gap, and two batters later, junior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) knocked the first pitch she saw through the right side of the infield for an RBI single, pushing the advantage to 2-0.
  • Coming off a week where she threw a pair of one-hitters, senior Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) got the ball on Wednesday and was strong early on. While she tallied only one 1-2-3 inning on the day (the second inning), Seib allowed just one runner into scoring position through the first four frames.
  • The Flames threatened to tie the game, or at least cut into Valpo’s edge, in the top of the fifth, getting runners to second and third with one out. But Seib was up to the challenge, registering a huge strikeout looking on a 3-2 pitch before getting a grounder back to the circle to keep UIC off the board.
  • UIC put two on in the sixth as well courtesy of back-to-back two-out singles, but Seib came back and got an innocuous popup on the infield to keep the shutout alive.
  • The Beacons added some insurance to their ledger in the bottom of the sixth. Hecker beat out an infield single to lead off the frame and came all the way around to score on a well-timed hit and run, as Rodas lined a double to the gap in right-center to make it 3-0. Two batters later, Fenters made it a 4-0 lead, knocking a single back through the box to score Rodas.
  • Junior Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) entered the circle in relief of Seib for the seventh inning and closed out the shutout, pitching around a two-out double.

Inside the Game

  • Valpo has now won its last three matchups against UIC, the most common opponent in program history. The two squads met on the diamond for the 88th time on Wednesday.
  • Wednesday’s 4-0 result was the program’s largest shutout win ever over UIC. It was just Valpo’s third shutout of the Flames since 1990, with the other two coming in Horizon League Tournament play — a 3-0 win in 2012, and a 1-0 win in 2016.
  • For the second time in five days, the Beacons clinched an MVC series win, pairing Wednesday’s victory with a 2-1 win at UIC on April 4. The teams will close the season series at UIC on April 25.
  • The Beacons have posted shutouts in four of their last six games, their first time doing so since Feb. 24-March 5, 2019. Valpo blanked Princeton, Wagner, Charlotte and North Carolina State in that stretch.
  • Three of Valpo’s last four MVC games have been shutout wins, the program’s first time posting a stretch like that since April 5-6, 2014, when Valpo shut out Detroit in three straight contests.
  • Seib tossed the first six innings of Wednesday’s victory, improving to 6-14 with the win. She scattered six hits and did not walk a single batter while striking out a pair in throwing an efficient 78 pitches. Kowalski picked up a strikeout in her seventh-inning appearance.
  • Both matchups against UIC this year have featured no walks by the Valpo pitching staff.
  • Seib has now walked one batter or fewer in each of her last eight appearances.
  • It was the program’s first combined shutout since Kowalski and Seib combined to blank Bradley on March 20, 2021.
  • Offensively, Valpo picked up seven hits, led by 2-for-3 efforts from both Hecker and Rodas. Hecker tallied multiple hits for the sixth time this year, while Rodas did so for the fourth time.
  • Both of Rodas’ hits were doubles, her first career two-double game. She also scored a pair of runs for her first career multi-run game.
  • Fenters doubled her career RBI total on Wednesday, as she entered the game with two career RBIs before posting the first multi-RBI game of her career.
  • Herschbach’s third-inning double extended her on-base streak to seven consecutive games, a season best. She is one game away from matching her career best on-base streak.
  • The Valpo defense played error-free softball in the field for a fourth straight game, handling 21 putouts and seven assists without any miscues. It is the program’s first streak of four straight games without an error since April 14-21, 2013, when the defense was perfect for one game against UIC and three games against Detroit.

Next Up

Valpo (8-30, 4-13 MVC) moved up another spot in the Valley standings with Wednesday’s win and will face the team its tied with in the standings this weekend, as the Beacons welcome Drake to the Valpo Softball Complex for a three-game series. The series opens Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., live on ESPN+.