May 10, 202412345678910RHE
Murray State510001210111161
Win: Holler (4-0) 1.121101
Loss: Jablonski (3-2) 0.031100
Schmack (VALPO) 613301
Reinertson (VALPO) 513000
Vogel (MUR) 624201
Valpo Rallies From Down Six with Ninth-Inning Home Runs; Murray State Prevails in Extras
Friday, May 10, 2024
Valpo Rallies From Down Six with Ninth-Inning Home Runs; Murray State Prevails in Extras
Connor Giusti hit a game-tying home run with two outs in the top of the ninth on Friday.

A miraculous ninth-inning rally featuring a pair of three-run home runs helped the Valparaiso University baseball team erase a six-run deficit to force extras, but host Murray State used a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to prevail 11-10 on Friday evening at Reagan Field in Murray, Ky. Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) hit a long three-run bomb with one away in the ninth to half the deficit, then Connor Giusti’s (Hoffman Estates, Ill. / Fremd [Wisconsin Oshkosh]) two-out, first-pitch three-run shot narrowly cleared the wall to tie the game at 10. The Racers bounced back, scoring the winning run with nobody out in the last of the 10th.

How It Happened

  • Murray State’s Drew Vogel led off the bottom of the first with a home run. Later in the inning, Taylor Howell hit a grand slam to make it 5-0.
  • Valpo responded with two in the top of the second. The first crossed the dish on a run-scoring single by Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central), then an error allowed a second run to score and make it 5-2.
  • Murray State added an unearned run in the bottom of the second. Valpo starter Connor Lockwood (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) retired the side in order in the third thanks in part to a nice play by second baseman Giusti to end the inning.
  • Lockwood held Murray State off the board in the fourth and fifth frames to make it three straight scoreless innings. In the sixth, the Racers added one but stranded another 90 feet away and it was 7-2 with six innings in the books.
  • Valpo climbed back into the game with two runs in the top of the seventh. A string of base hits including an RBI ground-ball single that one-hopped past the shortstop for Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) and an RBI single to center for Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) made it 7-4.
  • Murray State responded with two of their own in the bottom of the seventh to extend the lead back to five at 9-4. They added one more in the bottom of the eighth to make it 10-4.
  • A big swing by Kyle Schmack with one away in the top of the ninth sliced the deficit in half as he powered a long three-run home run to left to make it 10-7.
  • After Schmack’s home run, Murray State recorded the second out of the inning and Valpo still trailed by three with two outs and nobody on base. A walk by Carson Husmann (Hanna, Ind. / South Central [Bradley]) and single by Kevin Denty (Tinley Park, Ill. / Marian Catholic) prompted a Murray State pitching change.
  • The first pitch from the new Murray State pitcher was drilled to left by Giusti and narrowly cleared the wall for a game-tying, three-run jack to level the score at 10.
  • Valpo’s Trent Turzenski (Burlington, Wis. / Burlington) worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth to push the game to extras.
  • Carson Garner had the game-ending hit in the bottom of the 10th.

Inside the Game

  • Schmack’s home run was his 15th of the season, moving him into sole possession of second in single-season program history. He is three away from tying the program record.
  • Schmack’s home run was the 33rd of his career. He also moved into sole possession of second in the career program record book. He is three home runs away from tying that program record as well.  
  • This is the second time this season Valpo has been down to its final out and hit a home run to tie or take the lead. Brady Renfro had a walk-off home run with Valpo down to its final out against Missouri State before Giusti’s game-tying big fly on Friday.
  • Giusti’s home run was his sixth of the season. It was the 16th of his career including his time at Wisconsin Oshkosh.
  • Missouri State lost to Belmont in a strangely similar game, 11-10 in 10 innings on Friday in Nashville. That means Valpo remains two games back plus the tiebreaker, needing to make up three games on the Bears with five games to play.
  • Murray State’s Drew Vogel hit for the reverse natural cycle. His single to lead off the 10th clinched it before he eventually scored the winning run. Previously, a Valpo opposing player hit for the cycle on May 13, 2018 – Illinois State’s Owen Miller, now in the big leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • This was Valpo’s fourth extra-inning game of the season with the Beacons dropping to 2-2 in such contests. Valpo played its 11th one-run game and fell to 3-8 in those games and the team’s 18th game decided by two runs or fewer, falling to 4-14.
  • Six Beacons had multi-hit games, led by Schmack and Kade Reinertson (Huxley, Iowa / Ballard Community) with three hits apiece.
  • Each team produced 16 hits, Valpo’s second-highest hit total in league play behind 18 on April 28 at UIC.
  • Valpo has been on the wrong side of a walk-off five times this season – Friday at Murray State, April 30 at Western Michigan, April 23 at Northern Illinois, March 15 at No. 21 Campbell and March 5 at Jacksonville.

Up Next

Valpo (14-32, 6-16) will continue the series with Murray State at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The game will air on ESPN+.