Valpo Softball celebrated the careers of its two seniors – Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) and Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) – prior to Saturday’s regular season-ending doubleheader against Illinois State. When the games got underway, the Redbirds earned a 6-4 win in the opener, and then in a near replica of Friday’s series opener, Illinois State edged the Brown and Gold in a pitcher’s duel, 1-0.
How It Happened – Game One
- The Redbirds claimed a 2-0 lead four batters into the top of the first inning thanks to a walk and a pair of base hits.
- Both of Valpo’s seniors picked up singles in their first at-bats, giving Valpo runners on the corners with two out in its half of the first before a fly-out kept the Crusaders off the board.
- Valpo utilized four hits in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 2-2. Freshman Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) connected on the third base knock of the inning to score sophomore Ashley Barker (Coal Valley, Ill./Moline), and Westphal later scored the game-tying run on an infield single from fellow rookie Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley).
- Two hits, four walks and a hit batter led to a four-run top of the fourth for Illinois State, as the Redbirds took a 6-2 lead.
- A big two-out hit from junior Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) cut the Valpo deficit in half, as she lined a double to the right-center gap to score Lawton and sophomore Addi Burke (Mesquite, Texas/John Horn) to make it a 6-4 game.
- Valpo’s next batter, the potential tying run, would strike out to end the fifth inning, though, and the Crusaders went down in order in each of the final two innings.
How It Happened – Game Two
- The series finale was a rematch in the circle from Friday’s 1-0 game, pitting Valpo starter Jenna Edwards (Winchester, Ky./George Rogers Clark [Chattanooga State C.C.]) against Illinois State’s Morgan Day.
- Edwards allowed one-out singles in each of the first three innings, but pitched around them in each instance, as the Redbirds didn’t get a runner into scoring position in the first three frames.
- Valpo’s best chance at scoring in the nightcap came in the bottom of the third, as Burke led off the inning with a liner just inside the left-field line for a double. A sacrifice bunt moved her up to third with one out, but a squeeze attempt went awry and Burke was picked off third to erase the baserunner.
- Illinois State would score the game’s lone run in the fourth inning. A leadoff single was followed by back-to-back strikeouts from Edwards. But one out away from getting out of the inning, a stolen base moved the runner into scoring position and Andrea Coursey delivered a run-scoring single.
- Lawton and Herschbach picked up back-to-back two-out singles in the bottom of the fourth to put two baserunners on for the first time in the game, but a strikeout ended that threat.
- Illinois State threatened to add to its lead in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with one out on a single and two walks. But Edwards got a grounder to short, where Herschbach came home to force the lead runner, and then recorded a strikeout to strand the bases full of Redbirds.
- Valpo went down in order in its half of the sixth. Herschbach delivered a one-out single in the seventh to bring the potential winning run to the plate, but consecutive strikeouts closed the series finale in ISU’s favor.
Inside the Games
- Lawton recorded a hit in both ends of the doubleheader on her Senior Day and scored a run as well in the first game, while Trepanier reached base twice in the opener on a hit and a hit by pitch.
- Four different Valpo players posted two-hit games over the course of the twinbill. Matalin and Barker picked up two hits each in the opener, while Herschbach and Westphal both had multiple hits in the nightcap.
- For Herschbach, the two-hit effort was her eighth of the season – second-most on the team.
- Freshman Taylor Knight (Omaha, Neb./Elkhorn South) took the loss in the opener despite putting together perhaps her best performance of the year. Knight needed exactly 100 pitches to toss 6.2 innings, surrendering just three runs – only two of which were earned – while scattering seven hits and walking just one.
- Edwards was the tough-luck loser in the nightcap for a second consecutive day, this time surrendering one run on six hits while striking out seven in the 1-0 loss. For Edwards, it is her third complete-game effort giving up just one run in MVC play – she ended the regular season 0-3 in such games.
- Valpo lost multiple games in the same series by a 1-0 final for the first time since April 13 and 14, 2001, when the Crusaders dropped 1-0 decisions in consecutive games to Western Illinois.
- Defensively, Valpo turned a double play in both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader, giving the team 17 twin killings on the year. Trepanier was involved in both and has been part of nine double plays this season and 28 total in her career.
Valpo (15-30, 4-22 MVC) opens the MVC Tournament in Peoria, Ill. on Wednesday evening. Valpo will be the 10th seed and will face the seventh seed in opening-round action, which will either be Evansville or Loyola, contingent on Sunday’s Loyola-UNI result.