The Valparaiso University baseball team erased an early deficit in Game 1 and held on to an early lead in Game 2 en route to a doubleheader sweep of Alabama A&M on Friday at Bulldog Field in Huntsville, Ala. The Beacons broke the first game open late for a 9-2 triumph before using lock-down pitching to hold off the Bulldogs 3-2 in the nightcap.
How It Happened – Game 1
- Valpo played from behind early as Alabama A&M posted runs each of the first two innings to inch ahead 2-0. Valpo stranded three in scoring position over those first two frames.
- The Beacon offense broke through in the third, when Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) ripped a two-out double down the right-field line to plate a run. Valpo jumped ahead in the top of the fourth as Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeshore Lutheran) and Angel DiFederico (New Haven, Ind. / New Haven) notched back-to-back triples. Both plated runs to make it 3-2 in favor of the guests.
- After allowing runs in each of the first two innings, starting pitcher Trent Turzenski (Burlington, Wis. / Burlington) settled in. He induced three groundball outs as part of a quick third inning, then used a double play and a strikeout to face the minimum in the fourth. The fifth was another smooth inning for the righty, who struck out the side.
- Valpo added to its one-run lead in the sixth by pouring on four runs. DiFederico nailed his second triple of the day to score one, then Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) lifted a sacrifice fly. Renfro ripped a two-run homer down the right-field line to make it 7-2.
- After Turzenski put up another zero in the sixth, Valpo added two more in the seventh with help from an Alabama A&M error. The Valpo starter polished off his first win of the season in the seventh by keeping the Bulldogs off the scoreboard for the fifth straight frame.
Inside the Game – Game 1
- DiFederico and Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) had three hits apiece, while Hannahs and Renfro also enjoyed multi-hit days.
- DiFederico tripled his career triple total on the day as he entered the contest with one triple in 41 career games. He became the first Valpo player with two triples in a game since Andy Burns way back on April 6, 2013 vs. UIC. In addition, he became just the fourth player nationally with a two-triple game so far this season.
- Renfro homered for the second consecutive game, lifting his career total to six as only a sophomore.
- As a team, Valpo had three triples in a contest for the first time since May 21, 2016 vs. Youngstown State.
- Turzenski limited Alabama A&M to two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings. The last Valpo hurler to toss a complete game was Turzenski himself, an eight-inning effort on May 22 of last season at Missouri State.
- Renfro had a career-high three RBIs. Thurston had his second career three-hit game, while DiFederico enjoyed his third.
How It Happened – Game 2
- The Beacons didn’t waste time in grabbing a lead in Game 2 of the twinbill as Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) belted a two-run homer to left in the opening inning.
- Valpo added on in the third, when Renfro continued his big day as he doubled and eventually scored to make it 3-0.
- Alabama A&M got a pair on a two-run homer in the fifth to cut the lead to one at 3-2, but that proved to be the extent of the game’s scoring.
- Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) garnered his first win of the season, as the one dinger was the only damage against him. He scattered four hits and two walks while striking out seven over the five frames.
- Head coach Brian Schmack turned it over to the bullpen in the sixth, when Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian Hills CC]) entered the game and pitched around an error to hold the Bulldogs scoreless. Bobby Nowak (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central [Kankakee]) nailed down his second save, striking out the side in the ninth as part of a 1-2-3 frame.
Inside the Game – Game 2
- Kyle Schmack reached base three times including a pair of hits. The home run was his first of the season and the third of his career.
- Fields has allowed just two runs on eight hits in 11 innings of work so far this season. He has notched 15 strikeouts on the year.
- Nowak is 2-for-2 in save chances.
- Valpo improved to 1-1 in one-run games this season, earning its first one-run win since the 6-5 triumph over Illinois State in last season’s MVC Tournament. The Beacons have already played a pair of one-run affairs this year after competing in 15 such contests a year ago.
- Valpo has won three straight for the first time since winning four in a row late in the 2019 season vs. SIU and Chicago State.
- Valpo holds its best record through five games since 2014.
- This marked the program’s first doubleheader sweep since April 23, 2021 vs. Southern Illinois.
Valpo (3-2) will enjoy an off day in Alabama on Saturday before closing out the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Bulldogs. A link to live video via Alabama A&M Facebook Live is available on ValpoAthletics.com.