The Valparaiso University baseball team rolled to a 7-1 victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Saturday in Indianapolis before the host Butler Bulldogs prevailed in a 13-10 slugfest in the nightcap. Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) pitched a gem in the opener, while Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) had five hits over the two games.
How It Happened – Game 1
- Valpo started the scoring with a Parker Johnson (Golden Valley, Minn. / Hopkins) run-scoring single in the second inning of Game 1. The Brown & Gold added three in the fourth thanks to a Hannahs two-run double and Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) sacrifice fly.
- Hannahs added to his RBI total with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth, expanding the Valpo lead to 5-0.
- Meanwhile, Fields was locked in. He struck out the side in the first inning and had faced the minimum with five punchouts through three frames. His hopes of a second no-hitter this season were dashed with a one-out single in the fourth, but the shutout remained intact.
- Fields struck out the side again in the fifth on his way to a scoreless frame, and he worked out of a second-and-third, two-out scenario with his 10th strikeout of the day to end the sixth.
- Fields posted one more zero in the seventh, then back-to-back doubles by Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) and Renfro pushed the lead to a football score of 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh.
- Nolan Lebamoff (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll [Kankakee CC]) came on and worked the final two innings, with an Aaron Steinhart homer to lead off the ninth accounting for the only Butler run of Game 1.
How It Happened – Game 2
- Butler scored four times in the opening inning and added a fifth run in the second.
- Dent ripped a two-run homer in the third to take a bite out of the deficit. Valpo tied the game with three in the bottom of the fourth, an inning highlighted by a Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) RBI triple.
- Butler scored seven in the top of the fifth to go up 12-5.
- Valpo responded with four in the bottom of the sixth including a two-run single by Angel DiFederico (New Haven, Ind. / New Haven) and an RBI knock by Johnson. The high-scoring affair featured a 12-9 Butler lead through six frames.
- The scoring frenzy calmed down in the seventh and eighth innings as neither team scored. Butler picked up an insurance run in the top of the ninth, and then Valpo tallied one on a Renfro single in the bottom of the frame.
Inside the Games
- Fields’ final line featured seven innings of two-hit ball while permitting three walks and tying a career high with 11 strikeouts. Coincidentally, his previous career high of 11 came in 2019 vs. Butler. The righty earned the victory to improve to 2-2.
- Hannahs went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk and three RBIs in Game 1 and 3-for-4 with two walks and one run scored in Game 2. In total, he had five hits, three runs scored, three walks and three RBIs during a prosperous day at the plate.
- Hannahs’ three RBIs in the opener was a career watermark and allowed the freshman to join Jeremy Drudge as the only Valpo players with three-RBI games this season.
- Dent totaled four hits over the two games, posting a pair of multi-hit outputs.
- Valpo banged out 23 hits in the twin bill, 11 in the opener and 12 in the nightcap.
- Dent’s home run was his second of the season and the third of his career. Schmack’s triple marked his first in a Valpo uniform.
Valpo (5-12) will open conference play on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at DBU. Links to live coverage will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.