The Valpo softball team erased a three-run deficit in its series opener at Eastern Kentucky Saturday in Richmond, Ky., and then had the potential tying run on third base with one out in the seventh inning, but couldn’t complete a second rally, falling 4-3 to the host Colonels. EKU came away with a 15-2 win in the back half of the doubleheader.
How It Happened – Game One
- EKU opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with a two-out RBI double. The Colonels went on to load the bases, but Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) induced a pop-out to limit EKU to the one run.
- The Colonels extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning on a two-out, two-run homer.
- Valpo put a three-spot on the board in the fifth to tie the game. Junior Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) opened the inning with a single and freshman Lexi Szostak (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) followed with a walk to put two on with nobody out.
- After consecutive outs, senior Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) took a pitch the other way for an RBI single, plating Szostak to cut the deficit to 3-1. A walk loaded the bases for freshman Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon), whose grounder got by the EKU third baseman to score two runs and make it a brand-new ballgame at 3-3.
- EKU loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth. Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) kept the score even, however, rearing back for a strikeout to end the frame.
- Valpo put two on with two out in the sixth in an effort to take the lead, but was unable to push a run across.
- EKU scored the decisive run on a two-out, two-strike solo homer in the bottom of the sixth.
- Kehlenbrink led off the top of the seventh with a double to put the potential tying run into scoring position with nobody out, and pinch-runner Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) moved over to third on a groundout. But a sharp grounder to the third baseman resulted in a double play to close out the game.
How It Happened – Game Two
- EKU scored five in its first turn at the plate.
- Valpo got a pair back in the top of the second, as the Beacons loaded the bases and then plated runs as junior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) was hit by a pitch and a grounder by Johnson was misplayed by the EKU shortstop to cut the deficit to 5-2.
- The Colonels scored four in the second and six in the third for the final scoreline. Sophomore Kaiah Fenters (Speedway, Ind./Speedway) tossed a scoreless fourth inning for the Beacons.
Inside the Games
- The opener was the first time this year Valpo has lost a one-run game, having won both of its previous one-run affairs.
- Johnson reached base in all three of her plate appearances in the opener, going 2-for-2 with a walk.
- Kehlenbrink also had a multi-hit game in the first game of the day, as she went 2-for-4.
- Hecker and junior Emily Crompton (Salem, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran) each reached base twice in the opener with a base hit and a walk.
- Crompton was also one of three Beacons to reach twice in the nightcap, as she drew a pair of walks. After entering the day with just three career walks, she drew three on Saturday alone.
- Rodas and fellow freshman Lyna Vasquez (Moreno Valley, Calif./Valley View) reached base twice apiece in the day’s finale, as both rookies picked up a base hit and recorded a walk.
Valpo (3-13) is slated to close the three-game series against EKU with a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT. The game can be seen live on ESPN+, with live stats also available.