After clinching a Missouri Valley Conference Tournament berth on Thursday, the Valparaiso University baseball team dropped a game that had no impact on which teams comprise the tournament field on Friday afternoon, falling 20-10 to Illinois State at Emory G. Bauer Field. Senior Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]) ripped two home runs to increase his team-leading total to 11. The two teams played through intermittent rain over the course of the game.
How It Happened
- Illinois State took the lead with a two-run homer in the top of the first, but Valpo grabbed the edge with three in the bottom of the inning. Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) lifted a sacrifice fly before Skrine delivered a go-ahead two-run job.
- The Redbirds went back in front with two in the third to take a 4-3 lead, but Valpo responded with three in the bottom of the inning to regain the advantage at 6-4. Schmack cracked a run-scoring double, Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / South Central) scored on a wild pitch and Skrine ripped a run-scoring single.
- Valpo added to the lead in the fourth when a throwing error on a single by Patrick Ilitch (Detroit, Mich. / University Liggett [IMG]) allowed a run to score to make it 7-4.
- Each team had a solo shot in the fifth inning including Skrine’s second dinger of the day.
- A two-run double in the Illinois State sixth minimized the gap to one at 8-7, then the Redbirds scored seven in the seventh to take the lead for good.
- A two-run double by Ilitch in the bottom of the seventh made it 14-10, but Illinois State poured on six more in the top of the eighth and invoked the 10-run rule.
Inside the Game
- Skrine had three hits, four RBIs and two runs scored in his big day. He had Valpo’s first multi-homer game since Kyle Schmack on Feb. 26 of this season at UT Martin.
- Skrine lifted his team-high home run total to 11, two shy of cracking the top five in single-season program history. He has the most home runs by a Valpo player since Josh Wallace had 11 in 2008.
- The team is up to 47 home runs, already the fifth most in program history and the most since 2002. Two more would allow the Beacons to move into a tie for fourth in program history for home runs in a single season, joining the 2002 campaign.
- Illitch, Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo), Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) and Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) had two hits apiece.
- Valpo is now guaranteed to be either the No. 7 seed or No. 8 seed in the MVC Tournament. Entering Friday night’s Belmont/Bradley game, Valpo owns a half game lead over Belmont for the No. 7 seed. If the two teams finished tied, Belmont would own the tiebreaker.
Valpo (20-24, 10-15 MVC) and Illinois State will close out the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field at 1 p.m. on ESPN3. Nathan Chasey, Bobby Nowak and Jake Skrine will be recognized in a pregame Senior Day ceremony that will begin at 12:40 p.m. Links to live video and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.