The Valpo softball team split a pair of one-run decisions on Saturday in its second day of action at the Runnin’ Bulldog Tournament in Boiling Springs, N.C. Valpo opened the day with a 2-1 victory over Colgate behind a one-hitter from junior Kelsie Packard (Beloit, Wis./Turner [Rock Valley]), but fell 3-2 to Gardner-Webb in the eighth inning in the international tiebreak. Junior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) led the Valpo offense with two-hit efforts in both games.
How It Happened – Colgate
- Packard retired the first nine batters she faced in order to open the game, and Valpo took the lead for good in the bottom of the third as sophomore Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) led off the frame with a solo homer.
- A leadoff walk in the fourth gave the Raiders their first baserunner, but Packard stranded that batter on second with a strikeout to close the inning.
- Valpo added an insurance tally in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and moved up to third on a one-out single from Anderson. Junior Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) followed with a run-scoring single to plate Kehlenbrink and make it 2-0 Valpo.
- A leadoff error gave Colgate a runner on second to start off the fifth, and a pinch-hit double by Mia Guevarra was the first base hit off of Packard and drove in the Raiders’ first run. Packard bore down and got consecutive strikeouts and a fly-out to keep the runner on the second and maintain the one-run lead.
- Colgate drew one-out walks in both the sixth and seventh innings, but the Crusaders didn’t allow either runner to advance past first in closing out the win.
How It Happened – Gardner-Webb
- The Bulldogs threatened immediately in the bottom of the first, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Freshman Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) cut down the lead runner on a grounder to short, but a hit batsman then loaded the bases with one away.
- Freshman Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South), making her first career start in the circle, recorded a big strikeout for the second out and then induced a grounder to second to get out of the inning unscathed.
- Valpo jumped on top in the second thanks to a run-scoring double from Westphal which scored Anderson, and added a second run in the top of the third on an RBI groundout by sophomore Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) which brought Milkowski across the plate.
- With a two-run edge, Seib retired 12 of the next 13 batters she faced in order as Valpo entered the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead.
- A one-out single in the bottom of the seventh was followed by a home run from Jenna Wacaster as Gardner-Webb tied the game at 2-2.
- As the game entered extra innings, international tiebreak rules were implemented, giving each team a runner on second with nobody out to start their half inning. Valpo’s baserunner was stranded on second, while the Bulldogs got a two-out walk-off single from Andrea Lyon to clinch the victory.
Inside the Games
- Packard enjoyed one of the best games of her career as she improved to 3-1 with the complete-game win over Colgate. The junior surrendered just one hit and one unearned run while striking out 11, her third double-digit effort in the category this year.
- Combining the nine batters Packard retired to start today’s game against Colgate with the 12 she retired in a row to close out yesterday’s win over Gardner-Webb, she set down 21 batters in order – a hidden perfect game.
- Anderson registered multiple hits in both of the day’s games, as she went 2-for-3 against Colgate and 2-for-4 with a run scored versus Gardner-Webb.
- Westphal’s home run in the win over Colgate was her second of the year and the fifth of her career.
- Seib took the loss against Gardner-Webb in the circle despite a strong start, as she pitched 7.2 innings and scattered five hits while striking out six.
- Over the first two weekends of action, Valpo has now split on all four days it has played a pair of games.
- The Crusaders’ win over Colgate was their third one-run win of the year (3-2), already matching their total number of one-run victories from last season.
Valpo (5-4) looks for its second consecutive winning weekend as it closes out action from The Tar Heel State Sunday morning against Colgate at 9 a.m. CT.