February 16, 20241234567RHE
Morehead State11701011191
Win: McDermott (1-2) 5.254343
Loss: STEM (0-1) 5.267553
Hecker (VALPO) 513300
Utendorf (VALPO) 323110
SPEAR (MOR) 433311

February 16, 20241234567RHE
Youngstown State1000300491
Win: Howell (3-0) 7.0811211
Loss: Kowalski (0-3) 7.094423
Jakse (YSU) 414100
Skapyak (VALPO) 302000
Rodas (VALPO) 402000
Utendorf (VALPO) 302000
Softball Wins Slugfest in Friday Split
Friday, February 16, 2024
Softball Wins Slugfest in Friday Split
Kim Rodas had a pair of multi-hit games Friday and drove in three runs in the win over MSU.

The Valpo softball team picked up its first win of the season Friday as it opened action at the Pinnacle PC Invitational in Clinton, S.C., emerging on top in a slugfest against Morehead State, 13-11. The nightcap wasn’t as kind to the Beacons, as they fell 4-1 to Youngstown State.

How It Happened – Morehead State

  • Valpo started Friday morning’s game with a bang, putting a crooked number on the board in the top of the first. It took just four batters for the Beacons to get on the board, as senior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) turned on a ball for a two-run single. Freshman Cici Wilson (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) followed by taking a pitch the other way for another two-run base knock, giving Valpo a quick 4-0 lead.
  • The Eagles got one run back in the bottom of the first before Valpo extended its advantage with a two-run second. With runners on the corners, sophomore Kam Utendorf (Columbus Grove, Ohio/Columbus Grove [Black Hawk College]) stole home, and later in the at-bat, sophomore Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) delivered an RBI double to score senior Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) for the second time in as many innings to make it 6-1 Beacons.
  • Morehead State scored one in its half of the second, but Valpo answered with a run in the top of the third, as freshman Carson Kuhlmann (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) came home on an RBI single from Utendorf.
  • Morehead State led 9-7 at the end of three innings, as the Eagles scored seven runs — all of which were unearned — in the bottom of the third.
  • A solo homer extended MSU’s lead to 10-7 through five innings.
  • Valpo got that run back in the top of the sixth, as Johnson walked to lead off the inning and eventually came home on a groundout by Wilson to make it a 10-8 game.
  • Needing two runs to tie or three to take the lead in the top of the seventh, Valpo loaded the bases with one out on a single, a walk and an MSU error. Johnson drew a bases-loaded four-pitch walk to plate the first run of the frame, drawing the Beacons within 10-9.
  • Rodas followed with the go-ahead hit, knocking in a pair of runs to give Valpo the 11-10 lead. Hecker kept the line moving with a run-scoring base hit of her own, and an RBI groundout from Wilson extended the lead to 13-10 with three outs to get.
  • The Eagles scored an unearned run in their half of the seventh to cut Valpo’s advantage to two runs, but with the potential tying run at the plate and one out, freshman Syndey McDermott (Stout, Ohio/Portsmouth West) induced a pop-up and a grounder to close out the victory.

How It Happened – Youngstown State

  • YSU opened the scoring in the top of the first with a single run. The Penguins had the bases loaded with one out in search of more in their first turn at the plate, but a pop-up and a strikeout kept it a 1-0 game.
  • Valpo had chances in each of the first three innings to tie or take the lead. The Beacons had runners cut down at the plate in both the first and the third inning, while stranding the bases loaded in the second inning as well.
  • The Penguins extended their lead to 4-0 with a three-run fifth inning.
  • Valpo attempted to rally in the bottom of the seventh, cracking the scoreboard as Utendorf led off the inning with a single and pinch-runner Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) eventually scored. A single from Rodas kept the game alive, but a strikeout closed things out.

Inside the Games

  • Valpo’s 13-run performance in the Morehead State win was the program’s largest scoring output since a 13-0 win over Wagner in March 2019.
  • A trio of Beacons had multi-hit games in the win over the Eagles, led by Hecker and Utendorf, who posted three hits apiece. It was the fifth career three-hit game for Hecker, who also matched her career best with three RBIs, while Utendorf scored a pair of runs in addition to her three hits.
  • Rodas finished the MSU game 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs, tying her career highs for both runs and RBIs.
  • Johnson tallied a hit and a pair of walks, and scored a career-high four runs to match Valpo's single-game record. The senior became the 10th player in program history to cross the plate four times in a game and the first since 2018.
  • Wilson drove in a team-high four runs out of the five spot of the batting order.
  • McDermott earned her first collegiate win in the circle against MSU, pitching 5.2 innings over two separate stints and giving up just three earned runs.
  • Utendorf and Rodas both had multi-hit games in the nightcap as well, as did senior Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota).
  • Senior Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) went the distance in the circle against YSU, the 11th complete game of her career.
  • Freshman Madison Stamper (Matthews, N.C./Porter Ridge) made her collegiate debut as a pinch-hitter late against Morehead State, remaining in to catch the bottom of the seventh, while fellow rookie Lana Tellez (Chino Hills, Calif./Chino Hills) debuted as a pinch-runner against Youngstown State. All eight of Valpo’s freshmen have seen action over the season’s first six games.

Next Up

Valpo (1-5) continues action from the Pinnacle PC Invitational on Saturday with two more contests. The Beacons face Morehead State for the second time at 9 a.m. CT before facing host Presbyterian for the lone time this weekend at 1:30 p.m. CT. Both games will have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.