April 21, 2023123456789RHE
Win: Cottrill (1-0) 4.055543
Loss: GOULD (5-3) 5.194421
ROBERTS (UIC) 423411
Renfro (VALPO) 523200
Maka (VALPO) 423511
Thurston (VALPO) 503000
Valpo Uses 17-Hit Attack to Take Game 1 from UIC
Friday, April 21, 2023
Valpo Uses 17-Hit Attack to Take Game 1 from UIC
Matt Olive had a home run in his first game back from an injury on Friday.

The Valparaiso University baseball team pounded out 17 hits including two key home runs to outslug visiting UIC 12-9 in Friday’s series opener at Emory G. Bauer Field. Matt Olive (Minneapolis, Minn. / Blake School) drilled a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth that proved to be the difference in the game, while Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) had a huge day with three hits and five RBIs including a big fly of his own.

How It Happened

  • UIC grabbed the early lead thanks to a solo home run in the opening inning, but a sac fly by Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]) in the bottom of the frame quickly leveled the score. Later in the inning, Maka unloaded a three-run shot to right, putting the hosts ahead 4-1.
  • After being touched by a long ball in the opening frame, Valpo starting pitcher Griffin McCluskey (Normal, Ill. / Normal Community) settled in and sent down the side in order in the second. In the bottom of that inning, Maka picked up his fourth RBI of the day with a two-out single up the middle to plate a run.
  • The Flames got within a run when Carson Roberts belted a three-run homer in the third to make it 5-4. UIC did not score in the fourth, then went down in order including a pair of strikeouts in the fifth, McCluskey’s final frame of work.
  • UIC tied the game on a two-out single in the sixth, but the potential go-ahead run was cut down at the plate trying to score on a pitch that got away from the catcher. That out ended the inning, and Valpo regained the lead in a blink of an eye in the bottom of the frame as Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) cracked a run-scoring double.
  • Josh Cottrill (Pewaukee, Wis. / Pewaukee) worked a scoreless top of the seventh and retired the side in order in the eighth.
  • Valpo exploded for six insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. The scoring in the big frame started on a Renfro run-scoring single and continued on a wild snap throw to third by the catcher that scored a run and an RBI double by Maka that made it 9-5. That set the stage for Olive, who drilled a three-run bomb in his first game back from an injury to break it open at 12-5.
  • UIC hit back-to-back jacks in the top of the ninth, the first of which was a three-run job. That shrunk the lead to three at 12-9, but the insurance home run by Olive proved pivotal as the Beacons held on for the win.  

Inside the Game

  • Olive smashed his third home run of the season (in just 11 games) and the fifth of his collegiate career.
  • Maka’s dinger was the 10th of his career and his fifth this season, while his five-RBI output was just the second by a Beacon this season, joining Jake Skrine on April 15 at Bradley.
  • Renfro extended his on-base streak to 30, becoming the first Valpo player with a 30-game on-base streak since 2016, when Nolan Lodden reached base safely in 34 in a row. Renfro has reached in every Valpo game this season.
  • Renfro, Maka and Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) all produced three-hit games. Six of the nine batters in the lineup had multiple hits. Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) reached base five times (three walks, two hits) and scored four times.
  • This marked the team’s third straight double-figure run output in Valley play. The Beacons scored a season-high 12 in the first game of the April 15 doubleheader at Bradley, a total that was matched on Friday. Those two run totals were sandwiched around a 10-0 triumph in the series finale in Peoria.  
  • The 17 hits tied a season high set twice during the late February series at UT Martin and marked the team’s highest hit total in Valley play since May 1, 2021 vs. Illinois State (18).  
  • Cottrill earned the win in relief, the first decision of his collegiate career. He worked four innings of five-run, five hit ball while walking four and striking out three after McCluskey flipped five frames while allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
  • Valpo batters only struck out twice in the entire game, tying a season best that was set on March 5 at Little Rock. This was the fewest times Valpo batters had struck out in a league game since the team struck out just once on May 16, 2021 vs. Evansville.

Up Next

Valpo (15-15, 6-7 MVC) and UIC will continue the series on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field. There is no video streaming of this series due to home softball, but links to live audio (UIC broadcast) and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.