The Valparaiso University baseball team had an early lead and battled back to tie the game late, but host Notre Dame came away with an 8-4 victory on Tuesday at Frank Eck Stadium in Notre Dame, Ind. The Beacons outhit the Fighting Irish 9-7 and continued to be competitive against quality competition, as Notre Dame won 41 games and went to the College World Series last season.
How It Happened
- Valpo grabbed the early lead when Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) looped one softly to right for a run-scoring single, allowing Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) to motor home. Valpo had a chance for more in the opening frame with runners at first and second and nobody out, but a fly ball and a line-drive double play limited the lead to one.
- Valpo added to the lead in the top of the third when Schmack lifted a sacrifice fly to deep left field, allowing Hannahs to tag and score.
- Starting pitcher Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian Hills CC]) posted zeros in each of the first two innings. Catcher Kade Reinertson (Huxley, Iowa / Ballard Community) cut down a runner trying to swipe second in the bottom of the third, and that proved crucial as later in the inning Zack Prajzner homered for the first Fighting Irish run, but Valpo stayed in front 2-1.
- The Fighting Irish took the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a three-run homer by Jack Zyska.
- Valpo turned to Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook) in the sixth and he did not yield a run while striking out two in his first frame.
- The top of the seventh started modestly for the Beacons with two outs and nobody on base. However, Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) grounded a single through the right side and Schmack walked to set up Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo), who ripped a game-tying double to level the score at four.
- Notre Dame scored four times in the bottom of the seventh to regain the lead at 8-4.
- The Beacons inserted Bobby Nowak (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central [Kankakee]) for the eighth and the righty struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 inning.
Inside the Game
- This marked the ninth time this season that Valpo has outhit the opposition and just the second time the Beacons were on the wrong end in the column that counts while owning the higher hit total.
- Valpo has consistently been competitive in matchups with Notre Dame over the years, but has struggled to get over the hump and win the game. Seven of the last eight matchups have been decided by four runs or fewer, but Notre Dame owns a 14-game head-to-head winning streak.
- Tucker had three hits, his sixth multi-hit game in the team’s 14 contests this season. This marked his third game with three or more hits.
- Also boasting two hits was Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest), his fourth multi-hit contest.
- Schmack and Renfro drove in two runs apiece. Schmack upped his team-leading RBI total to 17, while Renfro beefed up his total to 13.
Valpo (7-7) will open Missouri Valley Conference play with a three-game series at Indiana State this weekend. Friday’s series opener will begin at 2 p.m. CT.