The Valparaiso University softball team put together a seventh-inning rally at #24 Mississippi State early Saturday afternoon at the Bulldog Kickoff Classic in Starkville, Miss, but eventually fell by an 8-3 final. The two teams would match up again immediately in the first game of bracket play, and Mississippi State’s Alyssa Loza threw a five-inning perfect game in a 10-0 game.
How It Happened
- Valpo had runners on second and third with one out in its first time at bat in the opener, but could not push a run across.
- Mississippi State scored a single run in the bottom of the first, then broke the game open with a grand slam by Mia Davidson in the second. The Bulldogs added another run later in the frame to make it a 6-0 lead.
- Valpo took advantage of defensive miscues from MSU to cut into the deficit in the top of the third. Senior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) reached on a one-out error and moved over to third on a single from freshman Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington). An error pickoff attempt by MSU’s catcher allowed Trepanier to score, and another Bulldog error later in the frame allowed Westphal to cross the plate and make it a 6-2 game.
- Valpo had two runners on with two out in the fourth and senior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) drew a one-out walk in the fifth, but the Crusaders were unable to add to their side of the ledger either time.
- Mississippi State scored a pair of runs in its half of the sixth to extend the lead to 8-2.
- Valpo looked to make it a game in the top of the seventh. Junior Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) led off the frame with a full-count walk, Trepanier singled and Westphal worked a full-count walk of her own to load the bases with nobody out.
- Following a strikeout, junior Emily Richardson (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) made her first career plate appearance in a pinch-hitting role and drew a full-count walk of her own for an RBI free pass, as Matalin scored to make it an 8-3 game.
- Another strikeout had Valpo down to its final out, and a line-out to the Bulldogs’ second baseman left the bases loaded and ended the game.
- Game two saw Loza set down all 15 Valpo batters she faced in order for the perfect game. Mississippi State scored one run in the first, six in the second and three in the third for the final margin.
Inside the Games
- Trepanier had a two-hit game in the opener, while Westphal and Matalin reached base twice as well.
- Matalin drew a pair of walks in the first game of the day. Prior to Saturday, the junior had not registered a free pass since watching ball four in the nightcap against Wright State on May 6, 2017 – 644 days and 115 plate appearances ago.
- Junior Kelsie Packard (Beloit, Wis./Turner [Rock Valley College]) started in the circle in the opener and took the complete-game loss.
- Richardson started the nightcap at pitcher, recording four outs and taking the loss. Junior Jenna Edwards (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark [Chattanooga State C.C.]) pitched the final 2.2 innings.
Valpo (0-4) will face the loser of the Middle Tennessee State-Stephen F. Austin game in its tournament finale Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Live stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.