The Valpo softball team lifted the lid on the 2024 campaign Friday with a pair of games at the Aggie Classic in College Station, Texas. The Beacons opened the season with a 9-0 loss to Tulsa, and then were dealt an 11-0 setback by host #24/RV Texas A&M.
How It Happened – Tulsa
- The Hurricane pushed three runs across in the top of the first to take the lead.
- Valpo threatened to close the gap in its first time at the plate, as back-to-back one-out singles by sophomores Kam Utendorf (Columbus Grove, Ohio/Columbus Grove [Black Hawk College]) and Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) were followed by sophomore Kaia Garnica (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield Central) getting hit by a pitch to load the bases. A strikeout and a groundout squashed that threat, however.
- Tulsa doubled its tally with a three-run second inning, and closed the scoring with two runs in the third and one run in the fourth.
How It Happened – Texas A&M
- The Beacons put a pair of runners in scoring position in the top of the first, with Rodas drawing a two-out walk and senior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) following with a single. A flyout ended the inning with the runners left on second and third.
- Making her collegiate debut, freshman Sydney McDermott (Stout, Ohio/Portsmouth West) set down the Aggies in order in the bottom of the first.
- Texas A&M posted six runs on the board in the second and five in the third.
- Senior Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) entered in relief to shut out Texas A&M in the fourth.
- Valpo got another runner to third base in the top of the fifth, as junior Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) drew a two-out walk and advanced on a wild pitch and a passed ball. Sena ended the game on third base, however, as a flyout closed out the contest.
Inside the Games
- Senior Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) reached base twice in the season opener, drawing a pair of walks, and also stole a base. It was the second multi-walk game of her career.
- Kowalski started in the circle against the Hurricane and took the loss, throwing the first three innings. Freshman Anna Wilming (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) debuted with the final two innings in relief, surrendering just one run.
- Hecker picked up a pair of hits in the nightcap, going 2-for-2, and also stole a base.
- McDermott was charged with the loss in the circle against Texas A&M, tossing 1.2 innings.
- Seven members of Valpo’s roster made their debuts in the Beacon uniform on Friday. Four of those debuts came against Tulsa, as Utendorf started at shortstop, Wilming pitched in relief and Cici Wilson (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) and Natalie Bush (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian) both appeared as pinch-hitters.
- Three debuts came against Texas A&M, as McDermott started in the circle, Kayden Krug (Milford, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) entered as a pinch-hitter and Carson Kuhlmann (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) was a defensive replacement in center field.
Valpo (0-2) returns to action on Saturday with two more games, facing Lehigh at 10 a.m. and Tulsa at 12:30 p.m. Both games will have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.