Early deficits proved to be too much for the Valpo softball team to overcome on Friday on its second day of competition at the Bluegrass Challenge, as the Beacons fell 4-1 to Eastern Kentucky and 10-2 to host #9/12 Kentucky.
How it Happened – Eastern Kentucky
- The Colonels got on the board first, scoring an unearned run in the bottom of the first.
- EKU scored three more in the bottom of the second, coming on a pair of doubles.
- Valpo cracked the scoreboard in the top of the third as it started the frame with three consecutive singles. Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) opened with a bunt single and stole second. Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) then delivered an 0-2 single up the middle which brought Westphal to the plate.
- Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) followed with an infield single of her own, and a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position with one out. They would end up stranded on second and third, however.
- That proved to be Valpo’s last good chance to add to its run total, as the Beacons got just one hit the remainder of the game and were unable to advance a runner past first base.
How It Happened – Kentucky
- Valpo got back-to-back hits from Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) and Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) in the top of the first, but could not open the scoring.
- The nationally-ranked Wildcats plated four runs in their first turn at the plate, three of them coming after two were out.
- UK added to its tally with a three-run homer in the third.
- Valpo got on the board in its half of the fourth. Milkowski led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch, and pinch-runner Kaiah Fenters (Speedway, Ind./Speedway) completed the journey, moving to second on a UK error, third on a wild pitch and scoring on an RBI grounder from classmate Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville).
- Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) reached on the aforementioned error as well and came around to score on another wild pitch from the Wildcats to make it a 7-2 game.
- Kentucky closed out the game in its half of the fifth with its final three runs.
Inside the Games
- Westphal picked up a pair of hits in the opener in addition to scoring a run and stealing a base. The senior is now tied for team-high honors with five steals in as many tries this season.
- Skapyak’s RBI was the first of her Valpo career.
- Milkowski reached base three times over the two games, drawing a walk against EKU before going 1-for-1 with a hit by pitch in the nightcap.
- Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) took the loss in the opener versus EKU, falling to 5-3 on the year. Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) entered in relief against the Colonels and tossed 4.2 innings of two-hit shutout softball.
- Madison Wathen (Floyds Knobs, Ind./Floyd Central) was charged with her first loss of the season with the decision against Kentucky, falling to 3-1.
Valpo (8-9) looks to close the Bluegrass Challenge on a winning note, as after taking a day off due to weather concerns Saturday, the Beacons will face Buffalo at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday in the weekend’s finale. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.