The Valpo softball team dropped both ends of an MVC doubleheader at Evansville Saturday afternoon in Evansville, Ind., falling 2-1 in a game one pitcher’s duel before the Purple Aces claimed an 8-4 win in the nightcap.
How It Happened – Game One
- Valpo loaded the bases in the first on a walk and two hit batters, but was unable to take the lead.
- Evansville used a leadoff homer and a bases-loaded single to take a 2-0 lead in its first time at the plate. The Purple Aces still had the bases full with one out, but were held to just the two runs thanks to a timely strikeout from freshman Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) and a fly ball.
- Valpo cut the deficit in half as junior Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) drove the first pitch she saw over the left-field wall to lead off the fourth inning.
- The Brown and Gold wouldn’t be able to even up the score, however, as Evansville’s Izzy Vetter retired 12 of the final 13 batters she faced.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Valpo took its first lead of the day in the top of the second inning. Sophomore Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) drove a one-out double to the right-center gap, and two batters later, freshman Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) made her first career hit a run-scoring knock, connecting on an RBI single back up the middle.
- The first two batters reached for Evansville in its half of the second, and Lindsay Renneisen followed with a three-run homer to give UE a 3-1 lead.
- Kehlenbrink recorded a base hit for a second straight inning in the top of the third, this time an RBI single to score junior Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) and cut the deficit to 3-2.
- Valpo reclaimed the advantage in the top of the fifth with back-to-back two-out RBI hits — a run-scoring double by junior Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) followed by an RBI triple by Johnson — to pull ahead, 4-3.
- Evansville connected on a pair of two-run homers in its half of the fifth to go ahead for good, and the Purple Aces closed the scoring with a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Inside the Games
- Kowalski took a tough-luck loss in the opener, as she allowed just two hits — both of which came in the first inning — in the losing effort. The freshman struck out seven UE batters.
- Tonoian reached in two of her three plate appearances in the opener.
- Valpo exploded for a season-high 11 hits in the nightcap, led by a three-hit effort from Westphal — her second career three-hit game against the Purple Aces. The junior also stole a pair of bases.
- Westphal was one of four Valpo players to record multiple hits in the finale. Johnson registered the first two hits of her Valpo career and drove in a pair of runs, while Moeder and Kehlenbrink each had two-hit performances as well.
- Sophomore Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) struck out five in 4.1 innings of work in the nightcap and was assigned the loss.
Valpo (5-14, 1-4 MVC) looks to close the series against the Purple Aces with a win on Sunday. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m., and live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.