Trailing by two runs entering the seventh inning Sunday of its series finale at Evansville, the Valparaiso University softball team got one back immediately with one swing of the bat and then loaded the bases with one out, but couldn’t push the tying run the final 60 feet as Valpo fell to Evansville by a final score of 4-3.
How It Happened
- Evansville loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first, but starting pitcher Jenna Edwards (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark [Chattanooga State C.C.]) worked out of trouble, picking up a big strikeout for the second out before inducing a grounder to short to get out of the first unscathed.
- Valpo looked like it might grab the lead in the top of the third, as freshman Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) led off the inning with a double to the wall in center. But after moving up to third on a sacrifice bunt, the next two Crusaders went down in order to keep it a scoreless game.
- The Purple Aces moved ahead in the bottom of the third, as consecutive walks to their first two batters of the inning eventually turned into a pair of runs.
- Valpo immediately responded with two runs of its own in the top of the fourth. A hard-hit single from sophomore Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) was followed by senior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) getting hit by a pitch, and two batters later, junior Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) drew a walk to load the bases with one out.
- Freshman Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) knocked a grounder to short, where the Aces’ shortstop attempted to come home for the force, but Anderson slid in ahead of the throw to get Valpo on the board. Westphal then hit a shot off the third baseman’s glove which ricocheted to the shortstop, who again tried to come home, but this time Lawton hit the plate ahead of the throw to tie the game at 2-2.
- Valpo’s defense was on display the next couple innings, as Edwards faced the minimum over the fourth and fifth frames. Sophomore Ashley Barker (Coal Valley, Ill./Moline) dove to her right for a shot down the third-base line, came up with it and threw across the diamond for the second out of the fourth, and senior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) followed with a leaping snare of a line drive to end the inning.
- Trepanier and Herschbach then teamed up for a nifty 4-6-3 double play, Valpo’s second twin killing of the game, to close out the fifth inning.
- A two-run single from Jessica Fehr in the bottom of the sixth gave Evansville a 4-2 lead entering Valpo’s final turn at bat.
- Trepanier wasted no time cutting the deficit in half as the top of the seventh got under way, drilling the first pitch she faced over the wall in right-center for her fourth homer of the year to make it a 4-3 game.
- Anderson and sophomore Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) then drew back-to-back walks to put two on with nobody out, and two batters later, Matalin got hit by a pitch to load the bases with one away. But a fielder’s choice grounder came home for the force for the second out, and a strikeout would end the game in the Aces’ favor.
Inside the Game
- Westphal led the way offensively for Valpo on Sunday, picking up three hits in four at-bats and driving in one of Valpo’s two runs. It was the freshman’s first three-hit game of her collegiate career.
- Anderson reached base twice on Sunday with a hit and a walk, finishing the series with hits in all three games, while Trepanier tallied a pair of hits for her team-best ninth multi-hit game of the year.
- Trepanier’s run on her home run was the 99th run of her career, leaving her just one run shy of becoming the 10th player in program history with 100 runs scored.
- Valpo left a season-high 11 runners on base in the loss on Sunday, and was just 1-for-12 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
Valpo (15-27, 4-19 MVC) is currently slated to finish its non-conference slate Tuesday afternoon at Northern Illinois with a 2 p.m. doubleheader. With inclement weather in the forecast, any schedule updates will be provided at ValpoAthletics.com and on Valpo Softball social media.