March 06, 202412345RHE
Win: Nuismer (6-3) 5.050013
Loss: McDermott (3-7) 3.086612
Skapyak (VALPO) 301000
Rodas (VALPO) 301000
Hecker (VALPO) 201000
Bush (VALPO) 101000
Utendorf (VALPO) 201000
O'Brien (OMAHA) 323300

March 09, 202412345RHE
Northern Colorado330028100
Win: Caviness Erin (4-5) 5.0200011
Loss: McDermott (3-8) 1.033001
Johnson (VALPO) 201000
Hecker (VALPO) 201000
Morales (UNCO) 322100
Steinker (UNCO) 202110

March 09, 20241234567RHE
Win: Wilming (2-2) 6.055431
Loss: Schmierer (1-2) 4.296302
Niegocki (RID) 402100
Utendorf (VALPO) 413100
Softball Concludes Preconference Action at Omaha
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Softball Concludes Preconference Action at Omaha
Emily Crompton and the Beacons play their final preconference weekend.

Valparaiso (5-13, 0-0 MVC)
March 7-9 - at Connie Claussen Classic (Omaha, Neb.)
March 7 - at Omaha (14-7) - 3 p.m.
March 8 - at Omaha - 1 p.m. | vs. Kansas City (6-14) - 3:30 p.m.
March 9 - vs. Northern Colorado (6-13) - 11 a.m. | vs. Rider (4-5) - 1:15 p.m.

Next Up in Valpo Softball: It's the final weekend of preconference action for the Valpo softball team before the Missouri Valley Conference slate gets going, as the Beacons head to Omaha for the Connie Claussen Classic. Valpo will face the host Mavs twice and take on Kansas City, Northern Colorado and Rider once apiece.

Previously: Valpo split four games last weekend at the Hoosier Classic, defeating Bowling Green by final scores of 5-3 and 12-4 while falling to host Indiana by finals of 8-6 and 10-0.

Looking Ahead: MVC play starts next weekend for the Beacons, as they continue life on the road with a three-game series at Evansville.

Following Valpo Softball: The two games against Omaha will be streamed on the Summit League Network ($), while the other three will be streamed for free through Omaha's website. All five games will also have live stats available, linked at

Head Coach Meaggan Pettipiece: Meaggan Pettipiece was hired in September 2022 as head coach of the Valpo softball program and enters her second season in 2024. Pettipiece is in her 15th season overall as a collegiate head coach, most recently spending three seasons at Akron prior to coming to Valpo. Pettipiece, who owns 263 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: Omaha - Valpo is 1-2 all-time against the Mavs, but the two programs have not met since 2015, when Omaha earned a pair of wins at the Colorado State Classic, 11-2 and 13-1.

Kansas City - Former conference mates in the Mid-Continent Conference, Valpo holds a slim 27-25 advantage in the all-time series. In the only meetings since Valpo left the Mid-Con, Kansas City won a pair of matchups in 2021 at the DePaul Dome Tournament, 3-2 and 10-2.

Northern Colorado - The lone matchup all-time between the two programs came in 2018 at UC Davis' Aggie Invitational, a 6-2 win for the Bears.

Rider - First meeting.

Who's Back: Valpo returns 12 of 16 letterwinners from last year's squad for the 2024 season. In all, 69.2% of Valpo's plate appearances are back for this season and 49.4% of last season's innings pitched return.

Who's New: A group of nine newcomers joined the Beacons for the 2024 season. Kam Utendorf transferred in after playing her freshman season at Black Hawk College, joining eight true freshmen on this year's team.

A Large Roster: The combination of 12 returnees and nine newcomers gives Valpo a 21-player roster for the 2024 campaign. That's a five-player increase over last season's group of 16 players, and it is the largest roster the softball program has had since fielding 21 players for the 2008 season.

Hitting the Road: This weekend's games continue a long and winding road for the Beacons before they finally get the chance to play at the Valpo Softball Complex. This is the last of five weekends of action prior to the start of Missouri Valley Conference play, as Valpo already played at Texas A&M, Presbyterian, Chattanooga and Indiana. The Beacons will open MVC action with back-to-back weekends on the road as well - at Evansville and at Drake - before finally opening the home slate March 29 against Bradley. All told, Valpo is scheduled to play its first 29 games of the season away from home.

A Big Win: The Beacons put a trio of crooked numbers on the scoreboard in just five innings of work as they earned a 12-4 run-rule win over Bowling Green on Sunday. The run-rule win was the program’s first since closing the 2022 regular season with a 10-0 win over Evansville. Combined with its 13-11 win over Morehead State back on Feb. 16, this year’s team is the first Valpo squad to score a dozen or more runs twice in the same season since the 2019 team beat Delaware State 12-1 and Wagner 13-0 in early-season action.

The Bats Came to Play: Valpo had easily its best offensive weekend of the season last weekend, hitting .341 as a team over the four games and reaching base at a .455 clip. Three regulars - Kayden Krug, Alexis Johnson and Kam Utendorf - hit at least .400, while Kim Rodas OPSed 1.316 and Regi Hecker OPSed .917. To go with their 12-run performance on Sunday against BGSU, the Beacons put six runs on the board Saturday against Indiana - the program’s highest output against a Power Five foe since 12 years to the day, March 2, 2012 — a 16-7 win over Iowa State.

Winning in Extras: Valpo came away with a 2-1 extra-inning win over Georgetown Feb. 24, scoring one run in the international tiebreak in the top of the eighth before retiring the side in order in the bottom half of the frame. The win was Valpo’s first in extra inning since a 7-5, eight-inning win over Cleveland State March 8, 2020 in what turned out to be the final game of the COVID-shortened season. Valpo had dropped its last four extra-inning games before the win over the Hoyas.

McDermott Mows Them Down: Freshman Sydney McDermott came to Valpo after earning Ohio All-State honors each of her last three years of high school, and has showcased that form over the last two weekends. She opened the weekend at Chattanooga engaging in a pitcher's duel against the reigning Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, giving up just three hits and one earned run in a tough-luck loss against Texas A&M-CC. McDermott rebounded with a two-hitter, surrendering a single unearned run while striking out a season-best eight, in the 2-1 extra-inning win over Georgetown. She closed the weekend by giving up just one run in 3.2 innings of relief work Sunday against Ohio. Then, in her first start this past weekend at Indiana, facing Bowling Green, McDermott retired 15 batters in a row during a complete-game three-hitter, giving up just one earned run to the Falcons. She became the first Valpo pitcher to throw complete games in three straight starts and surrender three or fewer hits in all three since Andrea Zappia in 2008.

Runners on the Move: The Beacons continued their early-season aggression on the basepaths by going 7-for-8 on stolen base attempts over the weekend. After going just 21-for-36 in the steals department last season, Valpo is already 26-for-29 this season. Senior Alexis Johnson - who tallied just six steals in her first three seasons - went 4-for-5 on the basepaths last weekend alone and is already 9-for-10 on the season, tied for the most steals by an MVC player. Fellow senior Kayla Skapyak is a perfect 6-for-6 on the basepaths this year as well.

Newcomer of the Week: Sophomore Kam Utendorf became Valpo's first MVC Newcomer of the Week since May 2019 on Feb. 20 after slashing .643/.706/.786 the previous weekend at Presbyterian. She had a trio of multi-hit games, including three-hit performances in both of Valpo's victories - going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI, a walk and a stolen base in the win over Morehead State and 3-for-4 with a run scored, two RBIs and two doublesin the win over YSU. Through four weekends, Utendorf’s .415 batting average leads the Valley.

Offensive Bests: Valpo exploded for 13 runs in its win over Morehead State to open the Pinnacle PC Invitational, the program's largest scoring output since a 13-0 win over Wagner in March 2019. The Beacons closed the weekend with a 13-hit performance in the win over YSU, the program’s best single-game total since racking up 16 hits in a win over Holy Cross in Feb. 2022.

Making Debuts: All nine of Valpo's newcomers made their debuts in the Beacon uniform in the opening weekend of play, eight of those coming on opening day. Four of those debuts came in the season opener against Tulsa, as Kam Utendorf started at shortstop, Anna Wilming pitched in relief and Cici Wilson & Natalie Bush both appeared as pinch-hitters. Four more debuts came against Texas A&M, as Sydney McDermott started in the circle, Kayden Krug entered as a pinch-hitter and Carson Kuhlmann & Madison Stamper were both defensive replacements. Lana Tellez made her collegiate debut in the nightcap of the twinbill with Lehigh the next day as a defensive replacement.

Hecker Hacking: Senior outfielder Regi Hecker started the 2024 regular season just as she closed the 2023 regular season. Hecker, who paced Valpo last year in batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs and stolen bases, closed 2023 by hitting .412 (14-for-34) with four multi-hit games over the Beacons' final 12 games of the regular season. Through four weekends this year, Hecker ranks third on the team with a .353 batting average and a .450 on-base percentage.

International Experience: Sophomore infielder Kim Rodas continued her international career playing for Mexico over the summer, as she earned a bronze medal at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games. Rodas previously medaled with Team Mexico at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games, where her squad claimed the silver.