April 30, 2024123456789101112131415RHE
Western Michigan2000300000010028161
Win: THOMPSON (4-2) 2.010011
Loss: Jakubowski (1-2) 2.121132
Renfro (VALPO) 723101
Maka (VALPO) 713000
Giusti (VALPO) 713201
MALONEY (WMU) 814000
Western Michigan Outlasts Valpo in 15-Inning Marathon
Tuesday, April 30, 2024
Western Michigan Outlasts Valpo in 15-Inning Marathon
Connor Giusti slugged an opposite field home run on Tuesday.

The Valparaiso University baseball team engaged in one of the longest games in the nation this season in terms of innings played and the team’s longest contest in 12 years on Tuesday afternoon and into the evening in Kalamazoo, Mich. Host Western Michigan outlasted the Beacons, prevailing 8-6 on a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 15th.

How It Happened

  • A ball lost in the sun aided the Western Michigan cause in the bottom of the first, and eventually a two-out, two-run single allowed the Broncos to grab an early lead.
  • With two outs in the top of the second, Connor Giusti (Hoffman Estates, Ill. / Fremd [Wisconsin Oshkosh]) lifted an opposite-field two-run shot down the right-field line to level the score at two.
  • Another “oppo” home run put the Beacons in front when Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) cleared the right-center field fence to lead off the bottom of the third after Adam Guazzo (Huntley, Ill. / Huntley) had worked a 1-2-3 frame in the top of the inning.
  • Guazzo finished his day by working a scoreless fourth as the Broncos stranded two aboard. He allowed just two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out five in his four frames and did not allow a run after the first.
  • Renfro hit Valpo’s 11th home run in a 12-inning span dating back to Sunday, pulling one down the right-field line for a solo shot with two outs in the fifth to extend the lead to 4-2.
  • Western Michigan scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead.
  • Righty Joe Seiber (Homer, Glenn, Ill. / Lockport [College of DuPage]) kept it a one-run deficit by working scoreless baseball in the sixth and seventh.
  • The South Central connection was alive and well in the bottom of the eighth, as Valpo scored the tying run when Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) scooted across the (Satellite) dish on a two-out single by Carson Husmann (Hannah, Ind. / South Central).
  • Valpo inserted Trent Turzenski (Burlington, Wis. / Burlington) into the game for the bottom of the eighth and he kept the game tied, facing the minimum in that frame with help from Kade Reinertson (Huxley, Iowa / Ballard Community) catching a runner trying to steal. Valpo had a runner in scoring position with one away but didn’t score in the top of the ninth.
  • Western Michigan had the potential winning run at third with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, but Turzenski pulled off a Houdini Act, inducing back-to-back strikeouts prior to a diving stop by first baseman Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) to send the game to extras.
  • Neither team scored in the 10th, including Grant Jablonski (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawka) retiring the side in order in the bottom of the inning. The bottom of the 11th got off to a shaky start for Valpo as the leadoff man reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error, but Jablonski retired three straight to force a 12th frame.
  • Valpo took the lead in the top of the 12th as Kevin Denty (Tinley Park, Ill. / Maran Catholic) drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded to force home the go-ahead run. A leadoff triple in the bottom of the 12th was followed by a sac fly that tied the game at six.
  • Western Michigan had the winning run at third once again in the bottom of the 13th, but Jake Jakubowski (Lake in the Hills, Ill. / Huntley [Heartland]) worked out of the frame with a punchout. He put up another zero in the bottom of the 14th, forcing a 15th frame.
  • Western Michigan won on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 15th.

Inside the Game

  • Thurston’s home run was his eighth of the season and the fifth of his career.
  • Giusti’s home run was his fourth this season, his first in a Valpo uniform.
  • With Tuesday’s home runs, the 2024 Beacons moved into third in single-season program history for home runs, surpassing the 1999 campaign (55). This year’s team trails only 2001 (81) and 1985 (64) for the most in program history.
  • Renfro’s home run was his fifth this year and the 20th of his four-year collegiate career.
  • This marked Valpo’s longest game in terms of innings played since April 17, 2012, a 16-inning contest at Indiana State.
  • This was just the sixth game in the nation to go at least 15 innings this season. Washington at Long Beach State was in the 17th when it was called a 3-3 tie on Feb. 18 due to Washington travel. Valpo’s game at Western Michigan tied with four others for the longest game in the nation that had a winner this season.  
  • The time of the game was four hours, 12 minutes. This was Valpo’s longest game in terms of time elapsed since the team enjoyed four hours, 29 minutes of excitement in an 8-7, 13-inning win on May 5, 2015 against – guess who? – Western Michigan.
  • This was Valpo’s 17th game decided by two runs or fewer with the Beacons falling to 4-13 in those contests. Seven of Valpo’s last nine games have been decided by two runs or fewer.
  • In the last five games, Valpo has outscored the opponents 43-29 (+14 run differential) but have dropped four of those five.
  • Renfro, Maka and Giusti had three hits apiece as part of the team’s 13-hit day.

Up Next

Valpo (13-29) will host Evansville in a three-game weekend series beginning on Friday at 3 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field.