Starting pitcher Connor Lockwood (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) had his best day in a collegiate uniform, settling in after a three-run first to work five consecutive shutout innings for the Valparaiso University baseball team on Tuesday at Notre Dame. The freshman took a tough-luck loss on a day where a solo homer by Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) represented the extent of the Beacon offense in a 5-1 setback to the No. 18 Fighting Irish at Frank Eck Stadium.
How It Happened
- The day got off to a bit of a wobbly start for Lockwood, who permitted three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first.
- After the three-run first, the Valpo rookie settled in. He sent down the Fighting Irish in order in the second, then worked around an error in the third to cause Notre Dame to strand two with nothing across. Lockwood turned in another 1-2-3 frame in the fourth, then allowed only a bunt single in the fifth.
- The excellent outing for Lockwood continued in the sixth, when he struck out a pair as part of a flawless frame. That marked the fifth consecutive inning that he put a zero on the board.
- Valpo mustered up just one hit through the first six innings, but one swing of the bat from Renfro got the Beacons in the run column in the seventh. He drilled a two-out big fly that narrowly cleared the right-field fence to cut the deficit to 3-1.
- Valpo went to the bullpen in the seventh, and Notre Dame quickly added to the lead. A single and a home run bolstered the edge to 5-1, but then Grant Jablonski (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawaka) settled in and retired the next three men he faced.
- Jacob Rosenkranz (Lincolnshire, Ill. / Stevenson) sent down the side in order in the bottom of the eighth. Valpo pitching worked 1-2-3 in four of the team’s eight innings on the mound on Tuesday.
Inside the Game
- This marked the longest outing of Lockwood’s young collegiate career. His previous long was 4 2/3 innings last week at Eastern Illinois.
- Lockwood lasted six innings and allowed three runs on six hits against the nation’s No. 18 team. He struck out four and issued no walks or hit batters. The four strikeouts marked his highest total in a collegiate contest and the walk-free game represented a stark contrast to his last start, when he issued four bases on balls. After allowing three runs on four hits in the first, Lockwood permitted no runs on just two hits over the next five frames.
- Renfro’s home run was his sixth of the season as he moved into sole possession of the team lead, snapping a tie with Kyle Schmack. Renfro also hit four jacks a year ago, so Tuesday’s dinger was the 10th of his collegiate career as only a sophomore.
- Neither team issued a walk in the entire game. This marked the fourth time this season that Valpo pitching did not issue a walk and first since April 3 at UIC. This was the sixth time this season Valpo batters drew no walks, including three times in the last four games.
- This was the first time since May 19, 2012 vs. Youngstown State that Valpo played in a game where neither team drew a walk.
- The contest lasted just 1 hour, 56 minutes, the team’s shortest nine-inning game since 1:54 on April 30 of last season vs. Illinois State. Valpo has played five straight games, all nine innings in length, that have been 2:31 or shorter. Three of the last four games have been 2:07 or shorter, the three shortest nine-inning games of the season.
- Six of Valpo’s last seven meetings with Notre Dame, one of the nation’s top programs, have been decided by four runs or fewer.
Valpo (13-19) will host Missouri State in a three-game series this weekend. All three games will air on ESPN3. The set is slated to begin on Friday at 3 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field. Links to live video and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.