February 18, 20241234567RHE
Youngstown State1110200583
Win: Wilming (1-0) 7.063322
Loss: Behlke (2-1) 2.266225
Utendorf (VALPO) 413200
Jakse (YSU) 413200
Softball Closes Weekend with Win Over Youngstown State
Sunday, February 18, 2024
Softball Closes Weekend with Win Over Youngstown State
Kaia Garnica knocked in three runs Sunday, including the go-ahead 2-run single.

The Valpo softball team made sure its trip home from South Carolina would be a happy one on Sunday morning, as the Beacons used a big third inning to close out the Pinnacle PC Invitational with an 8-5 victory over Youngstown State.

How It Happened

  • YSU claimed the early lead with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first.
  • Valpo responded in its turn at the plate in the second. Sophomore Kam Utendorf (Columbus Grove, Ohio/Columbus Grove [Black Hawk College]) doubled with two outs and came around to score on a wild pitch and subsequent throwing error. The Penguins answered with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second to make it 2-1.
  • Senior Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) and sophomore Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) led off the third inning with back-to-back singles. Consecutive outs threatened to leave the Beacons without anything to show for it, but that just set the stage for a big string of at-bats with two outs.
  • Sophomore Kaia Garnica (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield Central) got things going with a two-strike single the other way to drive in both runners and give Valpo a 3-2 lead.
  • After an error and a hit batter loaded the bases, Utendorf connected on her second double of the game, this one a two-run two-bagger to push the lead to 5-2. Senior Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) followed with a run-scoring infield single to make it 6-2 Beacons.
  • YSU scored a single run in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to three runs. Valpo got the run back in the top of the fifth as Skapyak delivered her second RBI infield single of the game, this one scoring junior Kaiah Fenters (Speedway, Ind./Speedway) — who led off the frame with a base hit — to make it 7-3 Valpo.
  • The Penguins plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth and looked poised to possibly tie the game with one out and runners on second and third. But freshman pitcher Anna Wilming (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) induced back-to-back pop-ups to maintain the two-run edge.
  • The Beacons capped the scoring in the top of the sixth as Rodas led off with a single and came around to score on a base knock from Garnica. Wilming took care of the rest, surrendering just a two-out double in the sixth over the final two innings as she finished off the win.

Inside the Game

  • Valpo reached double digits in hits for the second time on the weekend, finishing with 13 hits. The 13 hits mark the program’s best single-game total since racking up 16 hits in a win over Holy Cross Feb. 19, 2022.
  • Wilming registered all 21 outs in the circle to earn her first collegiate win. The freshman scattered six hits and surrendered just three runs in tallying the victory.
  • Leading the offensive attack was Utendorf, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored out of the nine spot in the order. Utendorf’s Sunday performance capped a weekend where she went 9-for-14 at the plate and drew three walks.
  • Utendorf was one of five Beacons to tally multiple hits on Sunday. Skapyak picked up two hits out of the leadoff spot, stole a pair of bases and doubled her career RBI total with two knocked in.
  • Rodas finished with her third multi-hit game of the weekend, going 2-for-4 with a walk, while senior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) went 2-for-4 as well.
  • Capping the two-hit brigade was Garnica, whose pair of base knocks resulted in three RBIs — surpassing her career total entering the game.
  • Fenters scored multiple runs in a game for the first time in her career.

Next Up

Valpo (2-7) heads to Chattanooga’s Frost Classic next weekend. The three-day, five-game tournament opens Friday morning at 9 a.m. CT against Texas A&M-CC.