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 Edges Rider in Saturday Split
Saturday, March 9, 2024
Softball Edges Rider in Saturday Split
Regi Hecker connected on her first homer of the season Saturday.

The Valpo softball team earned a split on its final day of preconference action Saturday at the Connie Claussen Classic in Omaha, Neb., ending the tournament with a 6-5 win over Rider after falling to Northern Colorado earlier in the day, 8-0.

How It Happened – Northern Colorado

  • The Bears took the lead in their first turn at the plate, scoring three unearned runs. UNC added three more runs in the second.
  • After being retired in order in the first three innings, the Beacons got their first baserunner with one out in the fourth on a single from Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central). Johnson proceeded to steal second to give Valpo a runner in scoring position, but back-to-back strikeouts kept it from cracking the scoreboard.
  • Emma Harrington connected on a two-run homer for UNC in the bottom of the fifth to end the game via run rule.

How It Happened – Rider

  • Freshman pitcher Anna Wilming (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) retired the first nine batters she faced in order.
  • The Beacons took the lead in the bottom of the third, as a squeeze bunt by Kam Utendorf (Columbus Grove, Ohio/Columbus Grove [Black Hawk College]) dropped in for an RBI single, plating Lyna Vasquez (Moreno Valley, Calif./Valley View).
  • Rider leveled the score with a single run in the top of the fifth, but the Beacons kept the Broncs from taking the lead by turning a double play on a pop-up with runners on second and third.
  • Valpo responded by putting a crooked number on the board in its half of the fifth. Johnson and Utendorf connected on back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, both eventually coming around to score on a Rider error.
  • Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) followed with a two-run homer to push the lead to 5-1.
  • Later in the frame, Carson Kuhlmann (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) delivered a pinch-hit RBI double to cap the five-run inning.
  • Rider erased over half the deficit in the top of the sixth with a three-run homer. Back-to-back walks to open the top of the seventh put the potential tying runs on board, but while a double scored the lead runner to make it a one-run game, a pair of perfect throws from Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) in center field and Johnson at second base combined to cut down the tying run at the plate.

Inside the Games

  • Valpo racked up nine hits in the nightcap, led by a three-hit effort from Utendorf to push her season batting average to .438.
  • Hecker’s homer against Rider was her first of the season and the second of her career.
  • Kayden Krug (Milford, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) also had a two-hit game against the Broncs.
  • Johnson tallied a hit in each ballgame and stole her team-best 10th base of the season against Northern Colorado.
  • Wilming earned the win in the circle against Rider, throwing six-plus innings to improve to 2-2 on the year. After starting and taking the loss earlier in the day versus Northern Colorado, Sydney McDermott (Stout, Ohio/Portsmouth West) came in and got her first career save in the victory over the Broncs, recording the final three outs.

Next Up

Valpo (6-15) opens MVC play next weekend at Evansville. The three-game series is slated to begin Friday evening at 5 p.m.