Sophomore Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) had six hits over the two games, but the Valparaiso University baseball team dropped both games to Ohio Valley Conference preseason favorite SEMO, 16-6 and 10-8, in Sunday’s doubleheader in Cape Girardeau, Mo. The Beacons struck first in all three games in the series, but the Redhawks battled back on each occasion, including a seesaw affair in a tightly-contested series finale.
How It Happened – Game 1
- For the second straight day, the Beacons struck first as Hannahs jacked a two-run homer over the right-field wall in the top of the first with Angel DiFederico (New Haven, Ind. / New Haven) along for the ride after drawing a base on balls. That gave Valpo a fast 2-0 lead.
- Valpo starting pitcher Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) struck out the side in each of the first two innings, but the bottom of the second also featured three singles and a costly error, leading to two runs (one earned), both of which scored with two outs to tie the game at two.
- Valpo climbed back in front in the top of the third thanks to a string of three straight extra-base hits. Hannahs started that stretch with a bloop double, then Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) one-hopped the right-field wall to plate the go-ahead run. Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) unloaded a tape-measure two-run shot that cleared the patio seating area in right field to make it 5-2 Valpo.
- Hannahs recorded his third hit of the day in the top of the fourth, poking a two-out single to right to score Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) and make it 6-3 in favor of the guests.
- SEMO launched three home runs as part of a six-run fourth inning to take a 9-6 lead. Fields allowed a game-tying three-run homer before departing with no decision, then the Redhawks grabbed the lead against the Beacon bullpen by making it back-to-back jacks.
- SEMO tacked on two in the fifth and one in the sixth to expand the lead to six at 12-6.
- Sophomore Jacob Rosenkranz (Lincolnshire, Ill. / Stevenson) made his season debut in the seventh, sending the Redhawks down in order to become the first Valpo pitcher to do so in the game. However, SEMO scored four runs charged to Rosenkranz in the eighth, an inning that saw three different Beacon hurlers take the mound.
Inside the Game – Game 1
- The Hannahs home run was his fourth of the season and the seventh of his collegiate career. He surpassed his season home run total from his freshman year (51 games) in his 10th game as a sophomore.
- The Renfro home run was his third of the season and the seventh of his career as only a sophomore.
- Fields finished with eight strikeouts in his 3 1/3 innings, lifting his season total to 33 and his career total to 183. He has struck out seven or more in all four of his starts this season.
- Thurston extended his hitting streak to eight, while Hannahs bolstered his on-base streak to nine.
- Renfro and Hannahs had three hits apiece. That marked Hannahs’ sixth multi-hit game in the season’s first 10 contests and his third three-hit output. Renfro’s three hits marked a season high and tied his career high. His previous personal best of three came in the second game of a doubleheader against Illinois State on May 1 of last season. They combined for six of the team’s eight hits.
How It Happened – Game 2
- For the third straight game in the series, Valpo jumped in front in the top of the first inning. This time it was Renfro finishing off a long at-bat with a long ball, a three-run blast to right that gave the Beacons an early edge.
- Valpo southpaw Jake Miller (Chester, N.Y. / Don Bosco Prep) retired the side in order in the bottom of the first and put another goose egg on the board in the second.
- SEMO scored six on the strength of three home runs in the third inning. A two-run blast narrowly carried over the right-field wall over the 330 sign down the line to tie the game at three, then the Redhawks took the lead on a two-run dinger and added to the advantage on another two-run blow, making it 6-3 SEMO.
- Freshman Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) narrowly missed a home run to straight-away center in the fourth, but ended up with a run-scoring triple. The rookie trotted home a moment later on a single by Thurston to cut the SEMO lead to 6-5.
- Miller retired the side in order in the bottom of the fourth, catching two Redhawks looking. In the top of the fifth, Matt Olive (Minneapolis, Minn. / Blake School) came through with a two-out single that scored Hannahs and tied the game at six.
- SEMO went right back in front with a leadoff home run to start the bottom of the fifth, making it 7-6.
- A seesaw affair continued in the top of the sixth as Hannahs reached on a two-out infield single to drive in the tying run. A second run scored on the play on a throwing error, giving the Beacons an 8-7 edge.
- SEMO tied the game with a run in the bottom of the sixth, but the potential go-ahead run was cut down at the plate on a key 7-5-2 relay from Schmack to Hannahs to DiFederico to keep the game even at eight. Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian Hills CC]) put up a zero in the seventh to keep it eight-all.
- Valpo threatened but did not score in the top of the eighth, then a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame put the hosts back in front, this time at 10-8. That stood as the game’s final score.
Inside the Game – Game 2
- Renfro’s second home run of the day was his fourth of the season and the eighth of his career. He has now matched his season total from all of last year.
- Maka’s fourth-inning triple marked his first collegiate hit.
- Miller struck out eight in his 4 2/3 innings but did allow seven runs on seven hits and two walks. The hot-hitting Redhawks had four home runs against him.
- Hannahs achieved yet another multi-hit game, his seventh in the first 11 games of the season. It marked his fourth three-hit output of the year, two of which came in Sunday’s twinbill.
- Maka and Thurston also posted multi-hit outputs. Maka’s two hits were the first of his career, while Thurston had his third multi-hit effort of the year. Thurston also extended his hitting streak to nine. He needs one more game to become the first Beacon this season with a double-figure hitting streak, after two players (Schmack and Hannahs) did so a year ago.
- This was Valpo’s sixth game this season decided by two runs or fewer, as the Beacons slipped to 4-2 in such contests.
- SEMO extended its winning streak to 11.
Valpo (5-6) will play its first midweek game of the season on Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT at nationally-ranked Notre Dame. The game will air on ACC Network Extra with links to live video and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.