The Valparaiso University baseball team gave up crooked numbers in each of the first three innings as host Little Rock jumped out to a large lead and never looked back in an 18-8, seven-inning loss in the series finale. Valpo still took two of three in the weekend series and holds its best record through nine games since 1985 at 6-3. The Beacons launched three home runs in Sunday’s setback.
How It Happened
- Valpo had a chance to score a first-inning run for the third time in the series, but couldn’t cash in on back-to-back walks to start the game as men were stranded at second and third.
- The first five Little Rock batters of the game reached base in an eventual five-run opening frame for the Trojans.
- Little Rock added to the lead with a pair of two-out runs in the second, upping the advantage to 7-0.
- The Trojans doubled the lead in the bottom of the third, scoring seven times including a grand slam to break the game wide open at 14-0.
- Valpo got on the board in the top of the fifth when Matt Olive (Minneapolis, Minn. / Blake School) deposited the team’s first hit of the day over the left-field fence for a home run.
- The Beacons got two more in that fifth inning as Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) ripped a two-run double to cut the lead to 12 at 15-3. The three-run frame started with two outs and nobody on base.
- Valpo knocked its second home run of the day when Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) jacked a three-run shot in the sixth to cut the lead to 10 at 16-6. For the second straight inning, the uprising started with two outs and nobody on base.
- The Beacons continued to do all of their scoring with two outs as Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Central Central) ripped a two-run homer in the seventh, decreasing the lead to nine at 17-8 and extended the game after Valpo had been down to its final out with the 10-run rule in play.
- The aforementioned 10-run rule was invoked in the bottom of the seventh when Little Rock scored for the seventh straight frame.
Inside the Game
- Olive’s home run was his first of the season and the third of his career. Olive, who missed most of last season with an injury, last homered on May 27, 2021 vs. Illinois State at the MVC Tournament in Carbondale, a memorable blast that snapped a 5-5 tie in an elimination game.
- Ryan’s home run was the second of his career and his first this season. His prior dinger came on May 1 of last season at Southern Illinois.
- Thurston’s home run was the second of his career and first this season. He previously homered on April 23 of last season in the second game of a doubleheader vs. Missouri State.
- The Beacons notched double figures in the hit column for the sixth straight game, but were outhit 22-10.
- Thurston and Olive had multi-hit games.
The spring trip continues as Valpo (6-3) will play in one of college baseball’s top environments on Tuesday night at Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. The first pitch is slated for 6 p.m. on SEC Network Plus. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.