The Valparaiso University baseball team enjoyed its most successful offensive day of the season thus far, posting 10 runs on 15 hits in a 14-10 defeat at No. 3 Louisville on Sunday. It was a big day for freshman Nolan Tucker (Cedar, Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central), who spanked a home run and drove in four, the highest RBI output by a Valpo rookie in eight seasons.
How It Happened
- Valpo struck first in the opening inning, producing a run in a frame that started modestly with two outs and nobody on base. Jonathan Temple (Turlock, Calif. / Turlock [Modesto JC]) singled and eventually scored on an error to allow Valpo to notch an unearned tally.
- Tucker belted a solo homer down the left-field line with two outs in the top of the second, doubling the lead to 2-0.
- The Cardinals responded and got even in the bottom of the second, scoring twice on three hits against Valpo starting pitcher Zach Fricke (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Buffalo Grove).
- Valpo jumped back in front in the top of the third. For the third time in as many innings, the Brown & Gold pushed across a run in a frame that started with two outs and nobody on. Temple stroked a single and crossed the dish as Troy Jones (Orland Park, Ill. / Carl Sandburg [Triton]) smashed a run-scoring double to left.
- A passed ball helped Louisville pick up an unearned run that came on a sac fly in the bottom of the third, leveling the score at three.
- Louisville went ahead on a run-scoring double with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. The Cardinals (4-3) added two in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 6-3, but Valpo got those two runs right back in the top of the sixth on a two-run single by Tucker.
- Louisville exploded for six in the sixth, an inning that featured four doubles including two two-run doubles and another run-scoring two-bagger. Yet another two-run double in the bottom of the seventh made it 14-5 in favor of Louisville.
- The Valpo bats battled back to produce five runs over the final two innings. Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) spanked an RBI double for his first career hit and Temple stroked a run-scoring single to account for two eighth-inning runs. Valpo got three more in the ninth thanks to a two-run double by Kevin Barry (Bartlett, Ill. / South Elgin) and a sacrifice fly by Tucker.
- On a day where outs were hard to come by, freshman hurler Jacob Rosenkranz (Lincolnshire, Ill. / Stevenson) tossed a scoreless bottom of the ninth for Valpo and permitted just one hit. He has not allowed a run in either of his appearances so far.
Inside the Game
- Valpo posted a season-high 15 hits and was outhit just 16-15 against the nation’s No. 3 team. This marked Valpo’s highest hit total in a game since March 16, 2019 against Northern Illinois. It was the team’s first double-figure run total since beating Western Michigan 11-1 on April 16 of last season.
- The 10 runs were the most scored by Valpo in a loss since March 2, 2018, a 14-13 setback vs. CSUN.
- The 10 runs were the most allowed by Louisville since a 16-11 loss vs. No. 22 Miami on April 19 of last season.
- Temple and Tucker each racked up three hits while Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) and Jeremy Drudge (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) had two apiece. Tucker collected four RBIs to grab the team lead with five.
- Tucker became the first Valpo freshman to drive in four in a game since Grant Yoder on April 24, 2012 at Purdue Fort Wayne (then IPFW).
- Tucker’s big day also included his first career home run as he launched the team’s second long ball of the year.
Valpo (1-5) will begin its annual spring trip on Friday, Feb. 28 at the Lake Area Classic in Lake Charles, La. The team will play a pair of games on Friday, battling Southern Mississippi at 2 p.m. CT and McNeese State at 6 p.m. CT. Links to live coverage will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.