The Valparaiso University baseball team received solid work on the mound throughout the day, but offense was hard to come by on a pitchers’ day with the wind blowing in on Saturday at Emory G. Bauer Field. The Beacons fell to Dallas Baptist 5-1 in the first game of the doubleheader before dropping Game 2 by a 3-0 score. DBU entered the weekend with the No. 5 Rating Percentage Index (RPI) in the nation.
How It Happened – Game 1
- Valpo jumped on the board first when Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) drilled a homer to left in the bottom of the first.
- That came after starting pitcher Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) set the tone by striking out the side in the top of the first. The Patriots leveled the score thanks to a walk and a two-out hit in the second, but Fields faced the minimum in both the third and fourth innings.
- DBU scored four runs on three hits and one error in the top of the fifth to grab a 5-1 edge.
- Fields worked 1-2-3 in the sixth, then Connor Lockwood (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) was summoned from the bullpen to begin the seventh as one Libertyville native took over for another. The freshman right-hander continued his recent turnaround by delivering three shutout innings of one-hit ball while walking one and striking out two.
- In the bottom of the sixth, Valpo had two on with nobody out and the bases loaded with two down, but could not push across a run in the inning and left the maximum as a Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) leadoff double went to waste. Schmack started the eighth inning with a double for his second extra-base hit of the day, but he was eventually stranded at third.
- The Beacons again threatened in the ninth as an Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) double put two into scoring position with two outs, but the hosts weren’t able to capitalize.
Inside the Game – Game 1
- Schmack slugged his seventh home run of the season to move into a tie for the team lead. It was the ninth home run of his collegiate career.
- Thurston and Schmack had two hits apiece. Schmack achieved his team-leading 17th multi-hit game, while Thurston recorded his 12th.
- Four of Valpo’s seven hits went for extra bases, but the Beacons stranded 10 on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
- Valpo owned a 7-5 advantage in the hit column, the second straight series opener that the Beacons lost despite owning the edge in hits.
- Fields allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits while walking three and striking out eight. This marked the 11th time in 12 starts this season that he has notched seven or more strikeouts.
- Fields now owns 99 strikeouts this season, one away from becoming the first Valpo hurler since 2010 to record 100 strikeouts in a season. He is four strikeouts away from moving into the top five in single-season program history.
- Thanks to his efforts on Saturday, Fields moved past his former teammate Jon Tieman (2017-2021, 244) for seventh on Valpo’s all-time strikeout list. Fields now owns 249 career strikeouts, one away from moving into a tie for sixth in program history and becoming just the seventh player in Valpo lore to hit the 250-strikeout milestone.
How It Happened – Game 2
- Valpo starting pitcher Jake Miller (Chester, N.Y. / Don Bosco Prep) began his day on the mound with a 1-2-3 first that featured a pair of strikeouts, but he was touched for one run in the second as the Patriots started the inning with three straight hits including two doubles. However, he wiggled out of the second with minimal damage by stringing together three straight outs including two more strikeouts.
- Miller again pitched in and out of trouble in the third as DBU failed to score despite loading the bases with one away thanks to three singles. The Patriots stranded a runner at third in the fourth, but eventually added two runs in the fifth to make it 3-0.
- Nolan Lebamoff (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll [Kankakee]) took over on the mound to begin the sixth inning and continued an excellent day by the bullpen. He logged four scoreless innings while striking out five, walking none and yielding just one hit.
- Scoring chances were few and far between for the Beacons in the late innings of Game 2 as 3-0 stood as the final.
Inside the Game – Game 2
- Miller scattered 10 hits while striking out seven and walking none of his five frames. He permitted three runs in the defeat.
- The Valpo bats totaled two hits, a single by Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) and a double by Kade Reinertson (Huxley, Iowa / Ballard Community), his first career extra-base hit.
- The Valpo pitching staff did not issue any walks, the team’s fifth walk-free game of the season.
Valpo (14-27, 3-11 MVC) and DBU will round out the three-game series on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Note that the start time has been moved 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled. The game will air on ESPN3 with links to live video and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.