The Valparaiso University baseball team jumped ahead early and never looked back, racking up 17 hits in a 10-2 victory over UT Martin on Friday afternoon in Martin, Tenn. Both Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) and Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) ripped home runs as the early-season power surge continued, while Griffin McCluskey, Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian Hills CC]) and Josh Cottrill (Pewaukee, Wis. / Pewaukee) combined for a quality day on the mound.
How It Happened
- The game started with a double by Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo), who came into score when Schmack ripped a double of his own. Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) and Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]) each lashed run-scoring singles as part of a three-run first.
- Valpo added to the lead in the second inning when Renfro notched another run-scoring single.
- The lone tally against McCluskey came in the bottom of the second, when the Skyhawks pushed across a single run.
- Valpo got that run right back in the top of the third on an RBI single by Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) to make it 5-1.
- McCluskey worked 1-2-3 innings in both the first and third frames, and allowed just one baserunner in both the fourth and fifth.
- Tucker belted a two-run homer in the sixth to expand the lead to 7-1, then Skrine added a run-scoring single to cap off a three-run inning.
- The offense continued to thrive in the top of the seventh when Schmack smacked a two-run homer to open up a 10-1 lead.
- UT Martin scratched out a run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly, the only run of the day against Chasey, who flipped three solid innings of relief.
Inside the Game
- Valpo already notched its second double-figure run output of the season after scoring 11 in last weekend’s win over Kansas. For comparison, last season, the team’s second double-figure run total came on March 25.
- The Beacons have slugged eight home runs in the first four games of the season. The team has hit multiple home runs in three straight games. Last year, Valpo had multiple home runs six times the entire season and did not hit its eighth homer until the 11th game of the season.
- Valpo pounded out 17 hits, matching its total from last weekend’s entire three-game series. This surpassed the team’s season high in the hit column from last year. This was the team’s highest hit total since 18 on May 1, 2021 vs. Illinois State.
- This was Valpo’s highest hit total in a road game since May 8, 2018 at Western Michigan.
- Ryan enjoyed a three-hit day, tying his career high that occurred on April 30, 2022 at Southern Illinois. Also boasting three hits was Renfro, who matched a career high that he reached three times last year.
- Every player in the lineup had at least one hit, and Hannahs, Schmack, Skrine and Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) notched two apiece. The two through five hitters in the batting order each had multiple RBIs, led by Schmack with three.
- Renfro was on base five times as he had two walks to go along with the three hits, while Schmack reached on four occasions.
- Schmack’s home run was the 11th of his collegiate career, while Tucker picked up the fourth of his career. He has as many home runs in the first four games this season (two) as he did in the first 57 games of his collegiate career.
- McCluskey received the win, the third of his career and first this season. He allowed one run on four hits while walking one and striking out four in five innings. Chasey permitted just one run on two hits over three frames before Cottrill sent down the side in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Valpo (2-2) and UT Martin will continue the series on Saturday at 3 p.m. A link to live stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.