The Valparaiso University baseball team created more early-game scoring chances than host Southeast Missouri on Saturday afternoon in chilly Cape Girardeau, Mo., but the Beacons couldn’t fully capitalize on the opportunities in an eventual 9-1 setback. The defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Redhawks used a grand slam in the sixth to change the game’s complexion. Valpo faced the challenge of taking on a top-50 RPI foe that recorded its ninth straight win and improved its record to 11-1 behind a potent offense.
How It Happened
- Valpo jumped on the board in the opening inning as Adam Brauch (Waukee, Iowa / Dowling Catholic) came up with a two-out single to plate Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo). The Beacons capitalized on a pair of opening-inning walks issued by SEMO starter Jason Rackers.
- After free passes played a role in the top of the first inning, that theme continued in the bottom of the frame. The Redhawks started their first at-bat with a walk and a hit batsman, both of which eventually came around to score to make it 2-1. Valpo starter Trent Turzenski (Burlington, Wis. / Burlington) got a strikeout to end the inning without further damage as the hosts stranded a runner at third.
- The Beacons threatened in the second, an inning that featured hits by Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) and Angel DiFederico (New Haven, Ind. / New Haven), but they stranded the maximum as SEMO held on to the 2-1 advantage.
- The Beacons committed a pair of errors in the second, but Turzenski limited the damage to one unearned run. The Redhawks had the bases loaded with nobody out and the run already in the bank, but Turzenski got a strikeout and an inning-ending double play.
- Valpo again threatened in the top of the fourth, but one base runner was erased on a double play and the other was stranded at third. SEMO added to the lead in the bottom of the inning with a two-out double to score a run and make it 4-1.
- Turzenski worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning, but SEMO broke the game open with a grand slam in the sixth.
- The Redhawks added a solo shot in the seventh to make it 9-1, but that was the only damage against Valpo reliever Nolan Lebamoff (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll [Kankakee CC]) in his 2 1/3 innings of work. He allowed just the one hit and no walks while striking out four.
Inside the Game
- Thurston extended his hitting streak to seven games with his second-inning single. He reached base three times in the game, also working two walks.
- DiFederico enjoyed his second three-hit game of the season. His previous three-hit output came on Feb. 25 in Game 1 of the doubleheader at Alabama A&M.
- Turzenski was charged with eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits and four walks while striking out six. Half of the runs came on the final pitch he threw on a day where his performance was better than the final line would indicate. He was victimized by several bad breaks and pitched well for much of the day against an elite offense.
- Hannahs extended his on-base streak to eight, reaching via a walk and hit by pitch.
- This snapped SEMO’s streak of scoring a double-figure run total in seven consecutive games.
Valpo (5-4) and SEMO will close out the three-game series with a doubleheader on Sunday. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.