February 23, 20241234567RHE
Texas A&M-CC100010X231
Win: Aholelei (4-2) 7.0310014
Loss: McDermott (1-4) 6.032125
Hecker (VALPO) 311000
Garnica (VALPO) 301000
Utendorf (VALPO) 201000
Jasso (AMCC) 211010
Hinojosa (AMCC) 101000
Avalos (AMCC) 111101

February 23, 202412345RHE
UT Martin00110011122
Win: Brooklynn Linneman (3-1) 3.032113
Loss: Wilming (1-1) 2.066510
Avry Blume (UTM) 212100
Kyrsten Brown (UTM) 312200
Anna Blanton (UTM) 322000
Hecker (VALPO) 302100
Softball Drops Pair to Open Weekend in Chattanooga
Friday, February 23, 2024
Softball Drops Pair to Open Weekend in Chattanooga
Regi Hecker registered three hits over Friday's pair of games.

The Valpo softball team opened the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn. Friday morning with a pair of games. The Beacons came out on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel with Texas A&M-CC, falling 2-1, and then suffered a 11-2 setback against UT Martin.

How It Happened – Texas A&M-CC

  • The Islanders opened the scoring with an unearned run in the bottom of the first.
  • Facing the reigning Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year in Primrose Aholelei, the first eight Valpo batters went down in order. Sophomore Kam Utendorf (Columbus Grove, Ohio/Columbus Grove [Black Hawk College]) snapped the string with a two-out infield single in the third.
  • One inning later, the Beacons broke through for the tying run. Senior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) singled with two outs to keep the inning alive. Sophomore Kaia Garnica (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield Central) followed with a single of her own, and a subsequent throwing error by the Islanders allowed Hecker to cross the plate, tying the game at 1-1.
  • Meanwhile, freshman Sydney McDermott (Stout, Ohio/Portsmouth West) was holding it down in the circle for Valpo, entering the bottom of the fifth having surrendered just one hit. But the Islanders got a two-out pinch-hit homer from Rhea-Ann Avalos to retake the lead, 2-1.
  • Valpo’s last six batters went down in order in the final two innings.

How It Happened – UT Martin

  • Valpo started on top thanks to a run in the bottom of the second. Garnica was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, and pinch-runner Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) stole second with one out. Two batters later, freshman Carson Kuhlmann (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) delivered an RBI single to plate Sena and make it 1-0 Valpo.
  • UT Martin pushed 11 runs across the plate in the top of the third to take the lead.
  • The Beacons got a run back in their half of the third, as an infield grounder from Hecker drove in senior Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota).
  • Valpo tried to extend the game in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs, but a strikeout closed out the run-rule decision.

Inside the Games

  • McDermott enjoyed the best outing of her young collegiate career in the circle, going the distance in the opener and surrendering just one earned run on three hits while striking out five.
  • Hecker went 3-for-6 over the pair of games while scoring a run and tallying an RBI.
  • Garnica reached base three times as well Friday, picking up a hit and getting hit by a pitch twice.
  • Kuhlmann’s RBI against UT Martin was the first of her collegiate career.
  • Freshman Anna Wilming (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) started in the circle against the Skyhawks and took the loss, tossing two-plus innings.

Next Up

Valpo (2-9) continues tournament play from Chattanooga on Saturday with two more games. The Beacons take on the host Mocs at 11:30 a.m. CT before facing Georgetown at 3 p.m. CT.