Valparaiso (8-40, 4-23 MVC)
at MVC Tournament (Carbondale, Ill.)
May 10 - vs. Indiana State (29-24, 17-10 MVC) - 1 p.m. | May 11 - vs. Murray State (33-20, 17-10 MVC) - 1 p.m.
May 12 - vs. UNI/Drake/Evansville - 1 p.m. | May 13 - MVC Championship game - 1 p.m.
Next Up in Valpo Softball: The Valpo softball team heads to the 2023 MVC Tournament this week in Carbondale, Ill. As the 12th seed, Valpo opens tournament play against fifth-seeded Indiana State on Wednesday afternoon. The Beacons will have to win four games in a row in the single-elimination bracket to claim the tournament title.
Previously: Valpo dropped its final series of the regular season to Indiana State last weekend, falling 7-0, 3-2 and 11-0.
Following Valpo Softball: Every game from the 2023 MVC Championship will be broadcast live on ESPN+, with R.C. McBride and Kerri Blaylock on the call for the first two games and Connor Onion and Laura Leonard for the final two games. Live stats for all of Valpo’s tournament games will also be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
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 Records: Indiana State - 6-22 overall; 4-14 since joining MVC; 0-3 this season
L4 streak (most recent win: March 20, 2022 at INS - 1-0)
Murray State - 0-3 overall; 0-3 since joining MVC; 0-3 this season
You Again?: It's a familiar foe in the opening game of the tournament for Valpo in more ways than one, as the Beacons take on Indiana State in first-round action on Wednesday. Remarkably, this is the fourth time in five MVC Tournaments that Valpo opens tournament action against Indiana State. It is the third straight year that the teams have met in the opening round of the tournament bracket, while in 2018, Valpo had a bye to the second round and met an Indiana State squad which won its opening-round game.
We Just Played You: Valpo also just met Indiana State in the final regular season series last weekend. Notably, with the first-round matchup against the Sycamores set going into Sunday's season finale, the Beacons started a pitcher other than Easton Seib or Caitlyn Kowalski for the first time this year. It is the first time since 2013, when the program was in the Horizon League and took on Youngstown State, that Valpo will face the same team in its opening tournament game as it closed the regular season against.
Valpo in the MVC Tournament: Valpo holds a 2-4 record in the MVC Tournament in its four tournament appearances, with the 2020 tournament canceled due to the COVID pandemic.
2018 (#4 seed) - 1-1 - W 3-2 vs. Indiana State, L 2-0 at Drake
2019 (#10 seed) - 1-1 - W 5-0 vs. Evansville, L 4-1 vs. Illinois State
2021 (#10 seed) - 0-1 - L 9-5 vs. Indiana State
2022 (#10 seed) - 0-1 - L 9-5 vs. Indiana State
Saving the Win: Dating back to 2016, this is the sixth time in Valpo's last seven conference tournaments that it has opened the tournament against a team which swept the regular season series from Valpo (the only exception being last season). Despite not winning any regular season contests against those opening foes, however, Valpo owns a 4-1 record in those five first-round games.
Winning Series: Despite finishing the regular season in 12th position, Valpo claimed a pair of series victories in conference play, winning two out of three against both UIC and Bradley. It is the second straight season that the Beacons have won series against the two teams directly ahead of them in the standings, as last year's squad had series wins over Evansville and Loyola.
Record Book Watch: A pair of Beacons have impacted the program's record book this year. Fifth-year infielder Taylor Herschbach has four triples this 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. Meanwhile, senior pitcher Easton Seib ranks 10th in program history with 97 career pitching appearances.
Standouts Against the Sycamores: While Valpo did not capture a win last weekend, a number of players had strong series against Indiana State. Senior catcher Lauren Kehlenbrink went 3-for-8 with two doubles and a hit by pitch, while junior outfielder Regi Hecker was 3-for-9 with a double. Herschbach reached base four times in 10 plate appearances, with two hits and two hit by pitchers, while freshman pitcher/utility player Lexi Szostak had a hit and two walks in seven plate appearances. In the circle, Seib limited ISU to just one run in her first six innings of work before a couple of tough-luck deflections resulted in scoring in the seventh inning, and she also tied her season high with five strikeouts.
Hecker Continues to Hit: Junior outfielder Regi Hecker continued her strong recent performance at the plate last week. Over Valpo's last 12 games, Hecker is hitting .412 (14-for-34) and has at least one hit in 10 of those 12 games, including four multi-hit games. She has scored five runs and driven in five during that span as well. Her season batting average sat at .256 following the first game of Valpo's doubleheader at Bradley April 15, but has gone up 42 points since then to a team-best .298 average.
The Pitching Roundup: Pitchers Easton Seib and Caitlyn Kowalski combined for one of the most impressive stretches of games pitched by Valpo players in program history in mid-April.
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