The Valparaiso University baseball team dropped both games of a doubleheader to host Milwaukee at Franklin Field in Franklin, Wis. on Tuesday. The Panthers edged the Beacons 3-2 in the opener before earning an 8-3 victory in the nightcap. This marked Valpo’s final day of baseball prior to the start of the Missouri Valley Conference slate.
How It Happened – Game 1
- Each team threatened in a lengthy first inning, but it was the Panthers who cashed in on their scoring chance. Valpo stranded the maximum in the top of the first, while a bloop, two-out double drove in a pair of Milwaukee runs in the bottom of the inning to put the hosts out to a 2-0 lead.
- Valpo got on the board in the top of the third, producing a two-out run on a groundball single by Adam Brauch (Waukee, Iowa / Dowling Catholic). That sliced the lead in half and made it 2-1.
- The Panthers got that run back in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer.
- Valpo’s Angel DiFederico (New Haven, Ind. / New Haven) started the top of the fourth with a double, then scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) to make it 3-2.
- That was the extent of the game’s scoring as the Panthers held on for the one-run win in the seven-inning affair.
Inside the Game – Game 1
- Brauch ripped a pair of hits, his sixth multi-hit game of the year. He accounted for half of Valpo’s hits.
- A DiFederico double represented Valpo’s lone extra-base knock.
- This marked Valpo’s third one-run game of the year as the Beacons dropped to 1-2 in such contests. It was the team’s eighth game decided by two runs or fewer (4-4).
- Valpo starter Griffin McCluskey (Normal, Ill. / Normal Community) took a tough-luck loss, allowing three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out three in four innings. Jacob Rosenkranz (Lincolnshire, Ill. / Stevenson) pitched the final two innings and did not yield a run while walking none and permitting just two hits.
- Thurston saw his nine-game hitting streak come to an end.
How It Happened – Game 2
- Milwaukee batted first in Game 2 since the game was a makeup that was originally scheduled for Emory G. Bauer Field. The Panthers jumped in front by scoring twice in the top of the first.
- The Panthers doubled the lead in the second inning, which featured a pair of triples.
- The Beacons loaded the bases with nobody out in the second, but settled for a single run. Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) led off the inning with a walk and eventually came around to score the first Valpo run of the day.
- Valpo turned to the bullpen and Grand Jablonski (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawaka) in the third, and he put a zero on the board as Milwaukee stranded a runner at third. That kept the Panther edge at 4-1.
- Milwaukee produced two runs in the top of the fourth, a frame that started with two outs and nobody on base. The inning was extended by a dropped third strike.
- Valpo climbed back into the game in the bottom of the fourth and Thurston came through with a two-out single that plated two. Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) followed with a base hit of his own, but Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) was cut down at the plate on a close play where Milwaukee’s catcher was ruled to have applied the tag on the sliding Ryan. That ended the inning and kept the Milwaukee lead at 6-3.
- The Panthers added an unearned run against Christian Hack (Oak Forest, Ill. / Tinley Park) in the fifth to expand the gap to four.
- Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook) entered the game in the top of the sixth and sent down the side in order.
- Milwaukee tallied a run in the top of the seventh to boost the lead to 8-3. The Beacons limited the damage to one as Hannahs corralled a line drive that was scorched to third and doubled off the runner at second to end the inning. Valpo didn’t score in the bottom of the ninth and 8-3 stood as the final.
Inside the Game – Game 2
- Thurston posted two hits, his eighth multi-hit effort of the season, the third-most on the team. He reached base three times, also drawing a walk.
- Valpo was outhit 13-6, but did draw seven walks while permitting just one base on balls.
Valpo will open Missouri Valley Conference play with a three-game home series against Indiana State at Emory G. Bauer Field. All three games will air on ESPN3. The series is slated to commence at 3 p.m. on Friday. As always, stay tuned to ValpoAthletics.com and @ValpoBaseball on Twitter for potential weather-related schedule updates.