The Valpo softball team closed out its three-game series against Missouri State on Sunday from the Valpo Softball Complex, dropping a pair of games to the Bears by final scores of 18-1 and 5-2. Sophomore Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) connected on her first collegiate home run in the opener.
How It Happened – Game One
- The Beacons retired the Bears in order in the top of the first, but Missouri State put eight runs on the board in the second.
- Valpo tried to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the second, as a double from junior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) was followed by a single and a stolen base by junior Emily Crompton (Salem, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran) to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Back-to-back strikeouts kept the Beacons off the board, though.
- Missouri State pushed across three more runs in the third. Valpo again threatened in its turn at bat, loading the bases with one out on a pair of walks and a hit batter, but was unable to get anybody across the plate.
- Missouri State scored three more runs in the fourth and four in the fifth to cap its scoring.
- The Beacons cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth as Sena stepped to bat with two outs and lifted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left-center for her first career home run.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Starting pitcher Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) retired six of the seven Bears she faced in the first two innings, holding MSU off the scoreboard.
- Missouri State broke through in the third with a two-out, two-run single to take the lead. The Bears extended their advantage to 4-0 in the fourth on a squeeze bunt which turned into two runs.
- The Beacons put a run of their own on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) led off the inning with a single, and pinch-runner Lyna Vasquez (Moreno Valley, Calif./Valley View) eventually scored on a two-out infield single from freshman Kaia Garnica (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield Central).
- The Bears pushed their lead to 5-1 in the top of the fifth on a sun-aided RBI single.
- Valpo looked for a rally in its final turn at the plate. Down to the final out, sophomore Kaiah Fenters (Speedway, Ind./Speedway) fouled off numerous two-strike pitches before drawing a walk. Fifth-year Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) followed by drilling a pitch to the right-center gap for an RBI triple, cutting MSU’s lead to 5-2. But with the potential tying run on deck, a strikeout ended the game.
Inside the Games
- Sena’s homer in the opener was not only her first career long ball, it was the first hit of her collegiate career.
- Batting out of the leadoff spot for the first time since March 27, 2021, Herschbach had a pair of extra-base hits in the nightcap, pairing her RBI triple with a double. It was the first time in her career she has tallied multiple extra-base hits in the same game.
- Kehlenbrink also had a multi-hit nightcap, going 2-for-3.
- Crompton picked up hits in both games, going 2-for-5 on the day.
- Seib went the distance in the circle in the series finale, her third complete game of the season.
Valpo (3-25, 0-3 MVC) spends the next nine games on the road, starting with a single game Tuesday evening at UIC at 5 p.m. The matchup with the Flames is slated for broadcast on ESPN+.