With two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth and extra innings seemingly on the horizon, one swing of the bat sent host Evansville to a 4-3 victory over the Valparaiso University baseball team on Easter Sunday at Braun Stadium. Eric Roberts unloaded a walk-off home run, negating Valpo’s late rally as the Beacons had tied the game with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
How It Happened
- Evansville started the scoring with three runs in the third, then Valpo got a run back as Spencer Warfield (Fullerton, Calif. / Servite) lifted a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
- Outside of the crooked number in the third, Valpo starting pitcher Bobby Nowak (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central [Kankakee]) put up zeros in the other five frames that he worked. He retired nine straight from the fourth to the sixth.
- Valpo sliced the lead in half when Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) ripped a two-out single to plate a run in the seventh. However, the Beacons stranded the potential tying run at third in that frame as Evansville remained on top by a 3-2 score.
- Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook) took over for the seventh and did not yield a run, then Valpo manufactured the tying tally in the top of the eighth. After a Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) triple, Spencer Warfield (Fullerton, Calif. / Servite) laid down a squeeze bunt to tie the game at three.
- Mintz put up another goose egg in the bottom of the eighth to keep it 3-3, and Grant Jablonski (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawaka) quickly sent down the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth prior to the game-ending blast.
Inside the Game
- Nowak struck out six over six innings while allowing three runs on five hits and one walk. He received no decision.
- Mintz did not yield a run over his two frames while working around three walks and one hit.
- Tucker registered three of the team’s eight hits, his ninth multi-hit game of the year and his fifth game with three hits or more.
- Valpo outhit Evansville 8-7, besting the Aces in the hit column for the third straight game in the series. This marked Valpo’s fifth loss of the year when outhitting the opponent.
- Maka’s triple was his first of the season and the second of his collegiate career. His last three-base hit was March 13, 2022 at SEMO.
- The Beacons outscored the Aces 17-14 in the series but dropped two of three due to a pair of one-run defeats. Valpo had not lost a one-run game all season but has now done so on back-to-back days. The Beacons are now 3-2 in games decided by the slimmest of margins this year.
Valpo (10-14, 2-7 MVC) will play Purdue Fort Wayne at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at Emory G. Bauer Field. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.