The numerous Valparaiso University baseball alumni who gathered as part of an alumni event at Saturday’s game had plenty of reason to cheer, as the Beacons put up crooked numbers in three different innings to pull away late for an 8-2 victory over Bradley at Emory G. Bauer Field. Freshman Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) continued his all-out tear, launching his fourth home run of the series while finishing a triple shy of the cycle.
How It Happened
- Valpo lashed out five hits – all singles – in the third inning to plate three runs as Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central), Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) and Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) each secured run-scoring knocks.
- After that, neither team scored until the bottom of the sixth, when a two-out big fly to right off the bat of Maka plated two with Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) along for the ride to expand the gap to five.
- That offense came in support of starting pitcher Jake Miller (Chesterton, N.Y. / Don Bosco Prep), who dazzled over seven shutout innings to the tune of three hits, one walk and nine strikeouts.
- The Beacons broke the game wide open in the bottom of the eighth when Maka drove in Tucker with a one-out double, then Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) added a two-base hit of his own that scored a pair.
- Bradley’s only offense came on a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.
Inside the Game
- Valpo pitching held Bradley to just four hits as the Beacons outhit the Braves 10-4. Valpo played error-free defense, while the Braves committed three miscues.
- The four hits marked the fewest allowed by Valpo in league play this season and fewest since a three-hitter on April 1 at UIC.
- Maka entered this weekend with one home run as a freshman this season and has launched four in the first two games of this series, including a three-homer game on Friday. He is 7-for-9 in the series with five extra-base hits, six RBIs and six runs scored.
- Valpo pitchers racked up 11 strikeouts against just two bases on balls.
- Miller achieved his team-leading fifth win, tied for the eighth-most in the MVC.
- This was Miller’s fourth game this season with nine strikeouts or more. His career-high of 11 came on April 3 at UIC. Over his last two starts, the Valpo southpaw has combined for 16 strikeouts and one walk.
- Ryan had two hits and two RBIs to join Maka as the two Beacons with multi-hit games. Ryan and Maka combined for all three of Valpo’s extra-base hits.
- The start of the game was delayed by one hour due to rain.
Valpo (15-29, 4-13 MVC) and Bradley will close out the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field. The pregame Senior Day ceremony will begin at 12:40 p.m. A link to live stats is available on ValpoAthletics.com.