The Valparaiso University baseball team has rallied to win when trailing through eight innings twice this season, but the return of some ninth-inning magic was not quite enough on Saturday as Evansville held on for a 9-8 victory despite a five-run frame by the Beacons. Valpo outhit the hosts 14-12 but left 16 runners stranded on base at Braun Stadium in Evansville.
How It Happened
- Evansville started the scoring with two runs in the second, but Valpo got one back thanks to a two-out, run-scoring single by Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) in the third to make it 2-1.
- The hosts got a clutch two-out hit of their own in the bottom of the inning as a single plated a pair to make it 4-1.
- Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian Hills CC]) settled in and allowed just one batter to reach over the next two innings, sending down the side in order in the fifth, which was his final frame of work.
- Evansville continued to tack on with two in the sixth, but Valpo got those runs back in the top of the seventh as Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central), Renfro and Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]) started the seventh with a string of three straight doubles to make it 6-3.
- The Purple Aces plated three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth that proved to be significant based on what transpired in the next half inning.
- Valpo loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth, but then Evansville recorded a fly out and a strike out as the runners remained at their respective stations, leaving the bags loaded with two outs and Evansville leading 9-3.
- Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) was hit by a pitch to force in a run, Schmack singled home another and then Spencer Warfield (Fullerton, Calif. / Servite) worked a walk to make it 9-6. Evansville made a pitching change, and Skrine greeted the new Ace with a single down the right-field line to score two, cutting the lead to 9-8 and moving the tying run to third. Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) hit a sharp line drive to left, but it was right at the left fielder, who made the snag for the 27th out.
Inside the Game
- The season-high 16 left on base marked Valpo’s most since April 24, 2021 vs. Southern Illinois.
- Valpo outhit the opponent and lost the game for the fourth time this season. Valpo has no wins when being outhit by the opposition.
- Valpo incurred its first one-run defeat of the season, dropping to 3-1 in such contests. This was the team’s first one-run loss since May 13, 2022, a 7-6 defeat to Bradley.
- Five Beacons had multi-hit games, led by three hits apiece from Schmack and Renfro.
- Chasey made his second career start (both this season) and his first weekend start. He allowed four runs on six hits in five innings while walking three and striking out two.
- Renfro extended his on-base streak to 23 games, tying Sam Shaikin’s streak from 2017. He needs one more to pass Shaikin’s streak and own Valpo’s longest on-base streak since Nolan Lodden in 2016 (34).
- Schmack started in center field for the first time this season after starting in left in each of the season’s first 21 games. Matt Olive (Minneapolis, Minn. / Blake School) got the start in left, his first nod at a position other than DH this year.
Valpo (10-13, 2-6 MVC) and Evansville will close out the series with a 1 p.m. rubber match on Easter Sunday. There will be no video stream but live video and stats courtesy of Evansville Athletics are available with the links posted on ValpoAthletics.com.