Valparaiso (8-37, 4-20 MVC)
May 5 - Indiana State (26-24, 14-10 MVC) - 3 p.m. | May 6 - Indiana State - 2 p.m. | May 7 - Indiana State - noon
Next Up in Valpo Softball: The Valpo softball team closes out the regular season this weekend as the Beacons welcome Indiana State to the Valpo Softball Complex for a three-game series starting on Friday afternoon. Prior to Saturday's game, Valpo will hold its Senior Day ceremony, honoring the four members of this year's senior class.
Previously: After rallying with four runs in the top of the seventh to extend the game, Valpo lost in walk-off fashion at UIC last Tuesday, 7-6. The Beacons then dropped a three-game series at MVC regular season champion UNI over the weekend.
Looking Ahead: The 2023 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament will be held in Carbondale, Ill., starting on Wednesday, May 10. This weekend's results will determine Valpo's seed, first-round opponent and game time.
Following Valpo Softball: This weekend's games will not be broadcast on The Valley on ESPN. All three games will have live stats available, however.
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: Valpo is just 6-19 all-time against Indiana State and is 4-11 against the Sycamores since joining the Valley. Indiana State is the program's most common MVC opponent since joining the conference in 2018, as the two teams have met three times in MVC Tournament action in addition to full three-game series each of the four seasons. Last season, Indiana State took two of three in Terre Haute, winning 10-0 and 9-0 before Valpo closed the series with a 1-0 win. The programs met in the opening round of the MVC Tournament as well, with the Sycamores earning a 9-5 win in that matchup.
Scouting the Opposition: Indiana State enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 26-24 overall record and is 14-10 in MVC play, most recently winning two out of three last weekend against Missouri State. The Sycamores currently sit in fifth place in the Valley standings, two games back of fourth-place Murray State and one game ahead of Southern Illinois in sixth position. Indiana State's offense is led by one of the Valley's top hitters in Isabella Henning, who hits .392 with 12 doubles, seven homers, 24 walks, 37 runs scored and 31 RBIs. Five different pitchers have seen action this year, with Lexi Benko serving as the staff ace (12-8, 2.50 ERA, 123 IP, 88 K).
A Look at the Standings: Valpo enters the final weekend of the regular season at 4-20 in MVC play, sitting in 12th place in the Valley standings - putting the Beacons in position to face the five seed in first-round MVC Tournament action next Wednesday at 1 p.m. Valpo would have to win one more game this weekend than UIC (which faces Drake) to move up to the 11th seed and a matchup with the six seed on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Beacons could potentially move up to the 10th seed, if they were to sweep Indiana State and Bradley went 0-3 against Belmont.
Honoring the Seniors: The four members of Valpo's senior class will be honored prior to Saturday's game. In her fifth year, Taylor Herschbach has 132 career hits (including 24 doubles, seven triples and two homers), 71 runs scored and 51 RBIs in 193 appearances at Valpo. Lauren Kehlenbrink has 73 career hits (19 doubles, one triple, nine homers), 26 runs scored and 49 RBIs in 132 appearances. Easton Seib ranks 10th in program history with 96 career pitching appearances and has 18 victories - including six shutouts - and 186 strikeouts. Ryan Milkowski, who has served as a team manager this year due to medical issues, tallied 47 hits (12 doubles, one triple, five homers), 31 runs scored and 30 RBIs in her three seasons of action.
Hecker Continues to Hit: Junior outfielder Regi Hecker continued her strong recent performance at the plate last week in Valpo's four games, going 6-for-12 with four RBIs and picking up at least one hit in all four contests. Over the last two weeks, Hecker is now hitting .440 (11-for-25) and has at least one hit in eight of nine games, including three multi-hit games. Her season batting average has gone up 40 points to .296 over the last two weeks.
A Single, A Double, A Triple...: Fifth-year infielder Taylor Herschbach picked up three-quarters of the cycle last Tuesday in the season series finale at UIC, as she doubled in the first inning, tripled in the fifth inning and singled in the seventh inning. It is the second straight season that Valpo has had a player tally a single, a double and a triple in the same game, as Addi Weaver did so on April 20, 2022 against Loyola. However, Herschbach became just the seventh Valpo player in the last 25 seasons to pick up a single, a double and a triple in the same game.
Tripling Into the Record Book: Herschbach's triple against UIC was her fourth of the season, the most by a Valpo player since 2018 and moving her into a tie for sixth place in a single season in program history. With one more triple, Herschbach would move into a tie for second on the program's single-season chart. Another triple would also move Herschbach into the top-10 in program history for career triples.
Extending the Game: Valpo entered the top of the seventh inning last Tuesday at UIC trailing 6-2, but sent the game to the bottom of the seventh with a four-run frame. While the Flames eventually won the game, it was still the first time Valpo had overcome a deficit of four runs or more to extend the game in the seventh inning since it erased a 4-0 Wright State lead with a four-run seventh to send the game to extra inning on its way to a walk-off win to win the 2016 Horizon League Tournament.
The Pitching Roundup: 4/11 at Northern Illinois - Easton Seib one-hitter (first of her career, sixth inning infield single)
4/14 at Bradley - 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
4/19 vs. UIC - Seib and Kowalski combine on 4-0 shutout
- Largest shutout win over UIC in program history
- Just the program's third shutout of UIC since 1990
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)
- First time throwing four shutouts in a six-game stretch since Feb. 24-March 5, 2019
- First time throwing three shutouts in a stretch of four conference games since April 5-6, 2014