The Valparaiso University baseball team polished off a road series sweep of UT Martin on Sunday afternoon in Martin, Tenn., notching the team’s most convincing victory yet in a 17-4 shellacking of the Skyhawks. Valpo posted crooked numbers in five different innings including five in the seventh and four in the eighth to invoke the 10-run rule in the series finale.
How It Happened
- The tone was set in the top of the first, when Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) launched a two-run homer to get the scoring going.
- UT Martin did get one run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double to make it 2-1.
- Spencer Warfield (Fullerton, Calif. / Servite) started the third by blasting a solo shot to left, and later in the inning two runs scored on a fielder’s choice bouncer by Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]), one of which was unearned due to a throwing error. That made the score 5-1.
- The Skyhawks got two back in the bottom of the third, halving the deficit to two at 5-3. Valpo went to the bullpen in the fourth with Jacob Rosenkranz (Lincolnshire, Ill. / Stevenson) taking over for Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook). UT Martin moved a step closer in that frame, making it 5-4 on a two-out, RBI double.
- After Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) rolled a single through the right side to begin the fifth, Schmack followed with his second home run of the day, a two-run job to up the lead to 7-4. Tucker singled to drive in a run in the sixth, making it 8-4. Meanwhile, the Skyhawks went down quietly against Rosenkranz in the fifth and sixth innings.
- Valpo’s fourth home run of the day was a two-run shot by Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) in the seventh to make it 10-4, then Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) added a run-scoring double and Tucker turned a lengthy at-bat into a single that scored a pair, breaking it wide open at 13-4.
- Christian Hack (Oak Forest, Ill. / Tinley Park) came on to pitch with two on and one away in the seventh and notched the final two outs without yielding a run.
- The Valpo eighth started modestly with two outs and nobody on base. The Beacons eventually scored on a wild pitch, a two-run single by Hannahs and a run-scoring single by Tucker.
- Hack posted another zero in the bottom of the eighth, and the game reached an early end due to the 10-run rule.
Inside the Game
- The 17 runs marked Valpo’s highest total since also scoring 17 on May 1, 2021 at Illinois State.
- The Beacons notched 17 hits for the second time in the series. Prior to this series, they had not recorded 17 or more hits in a game since 18 in the aforementioned May 1, 2021 game against the Redbirds. They had not notched 17 or more hits in a road game since May 8, 2018 at Western Michigan.
- The Valpo offense totaled 46 hits in the three-game series, batting .383 with 32 runs scored and seven home runs.
- The Beacons have already launched 13 home runs this season through just six games. Last year, Valpo had only 15 home runs in the 20 Missouri Valley Conference contests. The Beacons did not hit their 13th home run of 2022 until the 19th game of the season on March 29.
- Maka (.571) and Tucker (.533) both hit over .500 in the series. Tucker had two home runs in the series, while Schmack belted three.
- This marked Valpo’s first series sweep of three or more games since May 10-12, 2019 vs. Southern Illinois at Emory G. Bauer Field. This was the team’s first sweep of a road series of three or more games since March 18-20, 2016 at Northern Kentucky.
- Tucker went 4-for-4 with four RBIs and reached base six times thanks to also drawing two walks. Schmack and Warfield also drove in four runs apiece.
- Maka and Hannahs each had three-hit outputs.
- Schmack boasted Valpo’s first multi-homer game since Maka hit three on May 13 of last season vs. Bradley. This was Schmack’s second career multi-homer game with the first coming on April 16 of last season at Illinois State.
- Schmack now has 13 career home runs, while Maka hit his sixth career and first of the season. Warfield’s home run was the first of his collegiate career.
- Rosenkranz was awarded the win, his first collegiate victory. He allowed one run on two hits while walking two and striking out three in 3 1/3 innings. Hack did not yield a run while permitting just one hit in his 1 2/3 frames.
- The 13-run margin of victory was Valpo’s largest since beating Milwaukee 23-5 on April 11, 2018.
- This marked the first time Valpo had four or more home runs in a game since launching five on May 1, 2021 vs. Illinois State.
Valpo (4-2) will begin the team’s spring trip on Friday at Arkansas Little Rock. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and will begin at 3 p.m.