The Valpo softball team ensured it would leave the Houston Invitational with a winning record through one weekend of play, as pitchers Jenna Edwards (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark [Chattanooga State C.C.]) and Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) combined to limit a UMass Lowell team which had scored 21 runs over its first four games to just five hits in a 4-1 Valpo victory Sunday morning.
How It Happened
- After a scoreless first inning both ways, the River Hawks took the lead in the top of the second when Sara Siteman connected on a solo homer.
- Valpo responded immediately in the bottom of the frame, however. Sophomore Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) continued her hot hitting with a one-out single, and junior Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) followed with a base hit two batters later to advance Tonoian into scoring position.
- Sophomore Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]) came through with the run-scoring hit, knocking a first-pitch single into center to plate Tonoian and tie the game at 1-1.
- Valpo took the lead for good in the bottom of the third. Sophomores Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) and Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) walked and was hit by a pitch, respectively, to put two runners on base. The duo then pulled off a successful double steal, with a throwing error by the UML catcher allowing Westphal to scamper home, giving Valpo the lead.
- Later in the third, with Herschbach on third base and two outs, Tonoian delivered a single through the left side of the infield to score her fellow sophomore and make it 3-1 Valpo.
- That would be the only runs the Valpo pitching and defense would need. Seib entered in relief to kick off the fourth inning and allowed just one UML runner to reach scoring position over the final four frames.
- A two-out solo homer from senior Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) in the bottom of the sixth capped the scoring.
Inside the Game
- All three of Valpo’s wins this weekend came against programs which won league titles last year. Valpo earned two victories over Fordham the first two days, which won the Atlantic 10 regular season title and was co-tournament champions last season. Sunday’s win came over a UMass Lowell program which claimed the America East regular season championship in 2019.
- Valpo’s win on Sunday secured a 3-2 record through one weekend of play. It is just the second time in the last eight seasons Valpo has won at least three games in its first weekend of action.
- Tonoian picked up her second straight multi-hit game on Sunday, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Burke delivered a pair of base hits as well, her first multi-hit game since March 17, 2019 at Bradley.
- In fact, all six of Valpo’s hits in the win came from the bottom four spots in the batting order.
- Matalin’s home run was the sixth of her Valpo career, making her Valpo’s active career leader in the category.
- Beckemeyer’s run-scoring hit in the second inning was both the first base hit and first RBI of her Valpo career.
- Edwards started in the circle and threw three innings of two-hit ball before turning pitching duties over to Seib. The freshman picked up her first career victory as she closed the game with four shutout innings, scattering three hits.
Valpo (3-2) hits the field again next weekend, this time trekking to Boiling Springs, N.C. for the Runnin’ Bulldog Tournament, hosted by Gardner-Webb. The Brown and Gold will play five games over three days, starting with a 9 a.m. CT matchup with Robert Morris on Friday morning.