The Valparaiso University softball team split two games on its first day of action at the Liberty Challenge in Lynchburg, Va., picking up its first win of the season with a 12-1 run-rule victory over Delaware State before falling 7-1 to Bucknell.
How It Happened – Delaware State
- The Hornets took the lead in the bottom of the first with a single run, but Valpo’s defense came up with a key play to keep them from plating multiple runs in the inning. With runners on second and third and one out, sophomore Brittany Anderson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) flipped a squeeze attempt home to freshman Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus), who applied the tag to keep it a 1-0 game.
- Valpo took the lead for good in the top of the second. The Crusaders loaded the bases with two outs on a single, a DSU error and a walk, and another error by the Hornets allowed Tonoian and fellow rookie Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) to cross the plate. The next two batters walked, the latter a free pass drawn by freshman Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) with the bases loaded to plate junior Addison Pixley (Osceola, Ind./Penn) and push Valpo’s lead to 3-1.
- The Hornets threatened in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with two outs. But junior Kelsie Packard (Beloit, Wis./Turner [Rock Valley College]) entered the circle in relief and recorded a big strikeout to keep it a 3-1 game.
- Valpo led off the fourth inning with three straight singles, including a run-scoring base knock from senior Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) to bring home junior Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point).
- Later in the inning, Herschbach watched four pitches go by for a RBI bases-loaded walk as Trepanier came around to score. A Delaware State error then cleared the bases, as Valpo led 8-1.
- Valpo put the game away with a four-run fifth inning. Trepanier singled with one out and eventually scored on a DSU error on a sacrifice attempt by Westphal. Following a single from Anderson, the Crusaders pulled off a successful double steal, with Westphal scoring on a subsequent throwing error. Senior Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) capped the scoring with a two-run homer.
How It Happened – Bucknell
- Valpo opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Anderson drew a two-out walk, an error by the Bisons kept the inning alive, and Herschbach took advantage with a run-scoring double to the left-center gap.
- Bucknell would take advantage of a pair of Valpo errors to score five runs in the top of the second, four of which were unearned.
- Bucknell added its final two runs in the top of the fifth, one of which was unearned.
- Valpo’s best chance to add to its side of the ledger came in the bottom of the fifth, as sophomore Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) singled with one out and Trepanier doubled two batters later to put a pair of runners into scoring position with two away. But a lineout to right would end that Valpo threat.
Inside the Games
- Valpo’s 12-run output in the opener against DSU was its biggest offensive performance since plating 13 runs in a 13-2 win over Green Bay on Apr. 4, 2017.
- Trepanier led the way from the top of the order in the win over the Hornets, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.
- Trepanier also picked up a base hit against Bucknell and now has 164 career hits, just one shy of Valpo’s all-time top-10 in the category.
- Trepanier was one of four Valpo players to score a pair of runs in the opener, as Anderson, Tonoian and Herschbach all touched the plate twice as well.
- Westphal stole her fourth base in as many attempts this year against the Hornets, while Lawton’s home run in the win was her 17th career round-tripper, 10th-most in program history.
- Herschbach and Tonoian each picked up their first hit in a Valpo uniform in the win over DSU, while fellow freshman Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) recorded her first career hit later in the day against Bucknell.
- Packard earned her first win of the season with the relief victory against Delaware State, tossing 1.1 hitless innings. She would take the loss later in the day against Bucknell, starting and going 4+ innings while surrendering just two earned runs and striking out seven to end the day with a 1-3 record.
- Freshman Taylor Knight (Omaha, Neb./Elkhorn South) tossed a perfect inning of relief to close out the DSU win.
- Junior Jenna Edwards (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark [Chattanooga State C.C.]) gave up just one hit and one unearned run in three innings of relief work against Bucknell, striking out five.
Valpo (1-6) is scheduled to face Princeton and Liberty on Saturday, but game times are up in the air, as inclement weather affected the tournament following Valpo’s two games on Friday. The third game of the day was suspended and is currently scheduled to resume at 1 p.m. ET Saturday.