The Valpo softball team opened Missouri Valley Conference play Saturday with a doubleheader at Bradley. The Brown and Gold jumped out to the lead in the opener before the Braves rallied for a 5-3 victory, and Bradley completed the doubleheader with a 16-1 win in the nightcap.
How It Happened – Game One
- Valpo got the scoring going in the opener in the top of the third inning. Junior Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) led off the frame with a double, and after she was sacrificed over to third, sophomore Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) laid down a perfect squeeze to score Herschbach and give Valpo the lead.
- Milkowski added to the advantage later in the inning as she crossed the plate on a run-scoring double from classmate Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South).
- Bradley loaded the bases with one out in its half of the third, but was limited to just one run on a sacrifice fly as Valpo led 2-1 through three complete.
- Junior Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) gave Valpo a shot to extend its advantage by leading off the fourth with a triple, but she was stranded 60 feet away as the lead remained one run.
- Bradley took the lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth, stringing together three straight hits to score a pair of runs. The damage could have been worse, but freshman Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) made a highlight-reel catch at the fence earlier in the inning.
- The Braves added two more in the sixth on a two-run homer.
- Down three in its final time at bat, Valpo looked to rally, loading the bases with one out on two walks and a single. Kehlenbrink brought home a run with a sacrifice fly, but a groundout ended the game.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Bradley took control as it scored 10 runs in the second inning. The Braves added two runs in the third and four in the fourth.
- Herschbach recorded an RBI double in the fifth to get Valpo on the board, scoring freshman Emily Crompton (Salem, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran), who had a pinch-hit infield single earlier in the frame.
Inside the Games
- This is the second straight MVC schedule Valpo has kicked off at Bradley. In 2019, Valpo lost both ends of a Saturday doubleheader, but came back to take the series finale.
- Senior Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) registered three hits in Saturday’s opener, the first three-hit game of her career.
- Junior Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) picked up her second consecutive multi-hit game with a two-hit effort in the opener.
- Coming off a weekend where she posted a .600 on-base percentage, Milkowski reached base twice in the opener as she drew a pair of walks.
- The Valpo offense left 10 runners on base in the first game and went just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
- Freshman Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) took the loss in the circle, giving up five runs in 5.2 innings of work.
- Crompton’s hit in the nightcap was her first career hit in the Brown and Gold.
- Sophomore Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) threw one-plus innings in her start in the second game and was charged with the loss.
Valpo (4-11, 0-2 MVC) closes out the conference-opening series at Bradley with an 11 a.m. first pitch for Sunday’s single game. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.