Valparaiso (8-33, 4-16 MVC)
April 25 - at UIC (4-39, 3-17 MVC) - 5 p.m.
April 28 - at UNI (30-11, 19-1 MVC) - 5 p.m. | April 29 - at UNI - 2 p.m. | April 30 - at UNI - noon
Next Up in Valpo Softball: The Valpo softball team takes to the road for the final time in the regular season this week, with four games over the course of six days. The Beacons begin the week by closing out the season series with UIC on Tuesday in Chicago before trekking to Cedar Falls, Iowa for a three-game series with MVC-leading UNI this weekend.
Previously: Valpo clinched the season series victory over UIC at the Valpo Softball Complex on Wednesday with a 4-0 win over the Flames. The Beacons went on to drop the three-game series against Drake over the weekend.
Looking Ahead: The regular season comes to an end next weekend, as Valpo hosts Indiana State for a three-game series May 5-7. The program will hold its Senior Day prior to the Saturday game.
Following Valpo Softball: All four games will be broadcast on The Valley on ESPN. The UIC game and the Friday/Sunday games on UNI will be carried on ESPN+, while the Saturday contest against the Panthers will be on ESPN3. All four games will have live stats available as well.
Head Coach Meaggan Pettipiece: Meaggan Pettipiece was hired in September 2022 as head coach of the Valpo softball program. Pettipiece brings over a decade of experience as a collegiate head coach, most recently the last three seasons at the Division I level at Akron. Prior to her time at Akron, Pettipiece spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Kent State and was head coach at Northwood for 10 years. Pettipiece, who owns 258 career coaching victories, was an All-American on the diamond and helped California University of Pennsylvania to a D-II national title in 1998 collegiately before playing internationally for Team Canada, including at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Series Notes: UIC - Valpo renews acquaintances with the most common opponent in program history Tuesday, as the two programs meet for the 89th time. UIC holds a 66-22 advantage in the all-time series, but it's the Beacons who have won the last three, including both meetings this season - 2-1 in Chicago April 4 on the back of a two-run homer from Lauren Kehlenbrink, and 4-0 in Valpo April 19, the program's largest shutout win in series history.
UNI - Valpo is just 1-17 all-time against the Panthers, including a 1-11 mark since joining the Valley. Last season, UNI swept the three-game series in Valpo by scores of 9-1, 5-0 and 3-1.
Scouting the Opposition: UIC - The Flames enter Wednesday's game with a 4-39 overall record, but now stand at 3-17 in MVC play after sweeping Evansville last weekend. Carlee Jo Clark leads the Flames offensively, slashing .256/.323/.390, while in the circle, Christina Toniolo has pitched over half the innings this season and owns a 4.05 ERA with 77 strikeouts.
Drake - The Panthers enter the week at 30-11 overall and are atop the Valley standings at 19-1, with a midweek contest at Drake before the weekend series. The prolific UNI offense ranks among the national best, averaging nearly seven runs/game. Mya Dodge is hitting .432 with 13 homers, 40 runs scored and 55 RBIs, while Alexis Pupillo hits .423 with 14 homers, 42 runs scored and 44 RBIs. In the circle, Samantha Heyer has seen the majority of work and is 19-4 with a 1.85 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 140 innings.
Looking For a Sweep: When Valpo takes the field Tuesday against UIC, it will be looking for a three-game sweep of the season series against the Flames - albeit split up over three different dates. Valpo has just one three-game series sweep since joining the MVC - that came back in the program's first year in the Valley, 2018, when Valpo took all three victories against Bradley.
Hersch Stays Hot: Fifth-year shortstop Taylor Herschbach is enjoying one of the best stretches of her time at Valpo as her collegiate career starts to wind down. Herschbach picked up at least one hit in all four games last week, extending her on-base streak to 10 consecutive games. Not only is that a new career best for Herschbach, it is also the longest stretch by any Valpo player this year and one game shy of being the longest by a Valpo player over the last four seasons. In that stretch, Herschbach is hitting .346 (9-26) with three doubles, two triples, six runs scored, six walks and a hit batter.
Production From the Middle: Herschbach wasn't the only Beacon swinging a hot bat over last week's four games, as the middle of the order delivered numerous hits over the course of the week. Freshman third baseman Kim Rodas hit .500 (5-10) with two doubles, two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk last week, while junior outfielder Regi Hecker hit .400 (4-10) with three runs scored, an RBI and a walk.
Another Shutout: Coming of one of the best trios of pitching performances in program history the previous week, Easton Seib and Caitlyn Kowalski teamed up to blank UIC last Wednesday in a 4-0 win over the Flames, the largest shutout win by Valpo over UIC in program history and just the program's third shutout of UIC since 1990. It was the Beacons' fourth shutout in a six-game stretch, their first time doing that since Feb. 24-March 5, 2019. It was also Valpo's third shutout in a stretch of four conference games, the program’s first time posting a stretch like that since April 5-6, 2014.
Seib Cracks the Record Book: When senior pitcher Easton Seib stepped into the pitcher's circle with the ball in hand last Friday against Drake, she moved into the program's record book, cracking the top-10 in program history for career pitching appearances. Seib enters this week with 94 career pitching appearances, 10th in program history and six shy of ninth ‑ this despite the fact that one of her four seasons was the truncated 2020 campaign.
The Pitching Roundup: 4/11 at Northern Illinois - Easton Seib one-hitter (first of her career, sixth inning infield single)
4/14 at Bradley - Easton Seib one-hitter (second of her career, third inning infield single)
- First pitcher in program history to throw one-hitters or better in back-to-back starts
- First Valpo pitcher since Emily Richardson in 2018 to throw multiple one-hitters or better in the same season
4/15 at Bradley - Caitlyn Kowalski no-hitter (First of her career)
- 12th no-hitter in program history
- First no-hitter by a Valpo pitcher since March 2019; first seven inning no-hitter since Feb. 2018
- First no-hitter in program history in a 1-0 game
More Pitching Beacon Bits: - First time since 2018 Valpo has had at least three one-hitters or better in the same season
- Shortest span between three such games in program history (previous shortest span was 28 days in 2007)
- Second time in program history team threw a one-hitter and no-hitter in consecutive games (March 2002 vs. Philadelphia and St. Thomas Aquinas)