The Valparaiso University baseball team earned its second straight win on Friday night at Dozer Park in Peoria, rallying from a three-run deficit with a three-run seventh inning in an eventual 4-3, 10-inning triumph over host Bradley. Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]) belted a long home run and cut down a pair of would-be base stealers, while Grant Jablonski (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawaka) followed a solid start by Griffin McCluskey (Normal, Ill. / Normal Community]) with a stellar relief outing.
How It Happened
- The only batter who reached base against McCluskey over the first two innings came on a dropped third strike. He struck out two of the three batters in the second while sending down the side in order.
- The Braves broke through with two runs in the third to start the game’s scoring.
- Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) made a sprawling catch in right for the second out of the fourth. A Bradley runner from third did tag and score on the play to boost the lead to 3-0.
- McCluskey recovered nicely to put up zeros in the fifth and sixth innings.
- The complexion of the game flipped in the seventh inning, when Valpo rallied for three runs to tie the score. Valpo ripped off a stretch of three straight extra-base hits. Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) started the uprising with a double, then Skrine cracked a tape-measure blast to deep left to cut the Bradley lead to 3-2.
- Maka added to the stretch of extra-base hits with a double, then he scooted home on a two-hit single by Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) that leveled the score at three.
- Jablonski started his day with a scoreless seventh as Bradley stranded a man in scoring position, then he wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth to keep it 3-3.
- Jablonski continued to do yeoman’s work out of the bullpen, facing the minimum in the bottom of the ninth with help from Skrine cutting down a runner trying to steal.
- The top of the 10th started with a Spencer Warfield (Fullerton, Calif. / Servite) single, then Warfield moved to second on a sac bunt, and scored on a throwing error to give the Beacons the lead.
- Jablonski put up another zero in the 10th, striking out the game’s final two batters.
Inside the Game
- The Skrine home run was his third of the season.
- Renfro posted three hits, his fifth three-hit game of the year. He extended his on-base streak to 26.
- Jablonski achieved the win, the first of his collegiate career. He went four scoreless innings while allowing three hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts. That came in relief of McCluskey, who went six innings of three-run, five-hit ball while walking three and striking out six.
- Valpo improved to 3-0 in extra-inning games and 4-2 in one-run games this season.
Valpo (12-14, 3-7 MVC) and Bradley have altered the schedule for the remainder of the weekend due to the weather forecast for Sunday. The series will now wrap up with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon. The first game will not be broadcast, but the second game will air on ESPN3.