April 28, 202412345678RHE
UIC Flames0000000X020
Win: Konitzer (1-1) 7.020028
Loss: LYONS (3-3) 1.055512
Renfro (VALPO) 524401
EWELL (UIC) 201000
HARRIS (UIC) 101000
Valpo Drills Eight Home Runs, Ryan Robs Grand Slam in Eye-Popping Blowout of UIC
Sunday, April 28, 2024
Valpo Drills Eight Home Runs, Ryan Robs Grand Slam in Eye-Popping Blowout of UIC
Connor Giusti and Kyle Schmack were two of the many Beacons who homered on Sunday.

The Valparaiso University baseball team slugged eight home runs – its most in a single game on record and in at least two decades – and enjoyed its most lopsided win in 14 years on Sunday afternoon, blitzing UIC 20-0 in seven innings at Curtis Granderson Stadium in Chicago. The Beacons scored nine times in the fourth and had crooked numbers in each of the first four frames on their way to the win. Although the offense was the story of the day, it was a defensive gem that marked the biggest play as Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) robbed a UIC grand slam to aid a strong outing by Bryce Konitzer (Mukwonago, Wis. / Mukwonago [Oakland]), who went the distance and threw a shutout. Carson Husmann (Hanna, Ind. / South Central [Bradley]) homered twice including a grand slam.

How It Happened

  • Valpo started fast as Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) roped the game’s first pitch for a single, then Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) followed with a 380-foot home run to right to give the Beacons an early 2-0 lead.
  • The prosperous first frame continued with a two-out double by Connor Giusti (Hoffman Estates, Ill. / Fremd [Wisconsin Oshkosh]) to make it 3-0.
  • The early onslaught continued in the second when Kade Reinertson (Huxley, Iowa / Ballard Community) drilled a home run to left to extend the lead to 4-0. That was followed by a double by Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) that chased UIC starter Kendall Lyons from the game.
  • The Beacons drilled their third home run in the game’s first two innings as Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) belted one 415 feet to left, a two-run shot that solidified a second straight three-run frame and made it 6-0.
  • The de facto home run derby continued in the third as Ryan drilled one 385 feet that was just fair down the left-field line. The two-run shot marked the team’s third straight crooked number to begin the game and extended the lead to 8-0.
  • The team’s fifth home run in the first three innings came off the bat of Hannahs, whose solo shot chased the second UIC pitcher from the game and made it 9-0 in the third.
  • UIC had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the third, and Ryan Nagelbach hit one to deep center that would have cleared the center-field wall, but Ryan leaped up and robbed a grand slam to end the inning. The grand slam would have got UIC back in the game, but Ryan’s incredible catch – which should appear on SportsCenter on Sunday evening – kept it 9-0.
  • The Valpo home runs kept coming in the fourth when Giusti got in on the act with a two-run shot to make it 11-0.
  • Hannahs, Renfro and Schmack all had RBI singles to keep the runs piling up in the fourth, then Husmann became the seventh Beacon to homer in the game, hitting a grand slam to make it 18-0 and cap a nine-run inning.
  • Husmann hit his second home run of the game in the sixth, then a Renfro RBI single in the seventh made it 20-0.

Inside the Game

  • Renfro’s home run was his fourth of the season and the 19th of his collegiate career.
  • Reinertson’s home run was his first of the season and the second of his collegiate career. His previous dinger came on Feb. 18, 2023 at Kansas.
  • Schmack’s home run was his 14th of the season and the 32nd of his career. He moved into a tie with Mark Pedersen (1998-2002) for second in program history. Schmack is four home runs away from tying the program’s all-time record set by J.J. Swiatkowski (1997-2002).
  • Schmack also climbed into a tie for second in program history for home runs in a single season, joining Steve Schank (1985) and J.J. Swiatkowski (1999). Much like the career record, he is four home runs away from tying the single-season record of 18 set by Brian Wolotka in 2001.
  • Ryan’s home run was his seventh of the season and the 10th of his career.
  • This marked just the second time since the start of the 2007 season that Valpo hit five or more home runs in a game, joining May 1, 2021 vs. Illinois State (five). This was the team’s first time hitting six or more in a game since April 4, 2006 at Ball State. The eight home runs marked the team’s most on record in a single game.
  • The eight home runs in a game tied for the sixth most in a single game nationally this season.
  • Valpo surpassed last season’s total of 50 home runs by lifting its team total to 54 on the season, the team’s highest single-season total since 2001. The 54 home runs rank fourth in single-season program history.
  • The 20 runs marked Valpo’s most in a league game since joining the Missouri Valley Conference. This was the team’s highest run total since April 11, 2018 vs. Milwaukee (23).  
  • Giusti’s home run was his third of the season.
  • Husmann’s home runs were his second and third of the series, eighth and ninth of the season and the 31st and 32nd of his collegiate career.
  • Husmann’s grand slam was Valpo’s first since Ryan Maka on May 5, 2023 vs. Southern Illinois.
  • Husmann had Valpo’s first multi-homer game since Schmack on March 19 of this season vs. Ball State.
  • The 20-run margin of victory was Valpo’s largest since April 2, 2010, a 26-5 win over Chicago State. This marked Valpo’s most lopsided shutout since April 15, 2004, a 20-0 win over Lewis.
  • Not to be overshadowed by the epic offensive performance, Konitzer had a great day on the mound, throwing a two-hit shutout while walking two and striking out eight. He had Valpo’s second complete game of the season, joining Connor Lockwood on March 30 vs. Bradley. He delivered Valpo’s first shutout since April 15, 2023 at Bradley.
  • Konitzer’s shutout came against a UIC team that entered the day leading the league in batting average (.306), on-base percentage (.412) and runs per game (7.8) and occurred on a hitter-friendly day.
  • Konitzer had Valpo’s first individual two-hitter since Cole Webb on April 17, 2014 at Milwaukee. (Note, Colin Fields threw a no-hitter on March 12, 2021 at Middle Tennessee).
  • Valpo returned to the road win column for the first time since March 12 at Gardner Webb, snapping a 15-game road skid, which was the nation’s second longest active such streak before it came to an emphatic end on Sunday.
  • Renfro had four hits to lead an 18-hit attack, while Hannahs had three and six total Beacons had multi-hit efforts.

Up Next

Valpo (13-28, 5-13 MVC) will visit Western Michigan on Tuesday at 2 p.m. CT for a midweek matchup. The game will be streamed on Bronco All-Access.