With the Valparaiso University baseball team clinging to an early 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second, redshirt sophomore Josh Cottrill (Pewaukee, Wis. / Pewaukee) entered the game with the bases loaded and one away. The Valpo righty struck out the next two hitters and eventually logged 4 2/3 innings of shutout, one-hit relief to propel the Beacons past Purdue Fort Wayne 9-3 at Emory G. Bauer Field.
How It Happened
- Valpo, which batted first despite playing on its home field since the game was originally slated to take place in Fort Wayne, jumped on the board early thanks to a run-scoring single to left by Spencer Warfield (Fullerton, Calif. / Servite) on a payoff pitch with two outs in the opening frame.
- The Beacons went quietly in the second, but doubled the lead thanks to another clutch two-out hit in the third. Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) delivered the base hit, which plated Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central), who had swiped second moments earlier.
- In his first start in a Valpo uniform, Kaleb Krier (Altoona, Iowa / Southeast Polk [DMACC]) logged 2 1/3 innings of one-run, four-hit ball. He was making his season debut after being sidelined by an injury.
- Valpo exploded for five runs in the fourth to break the game open. The Beacons worked four walks in that inning, and the big blow of the frame was a two-run triple by Schmack as he narrowly missed a home run in deep left. The ball got up into the wind and could not be hauled in by the Purdue Fort Wayne left fielder. The relay throw to third got away, and Schmack trotted home on the error for a “little league home run.”
- Warfield tacked on a single through the left side to score the final run of the fourth, extending the lead to 7-1. Valpo got one more in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk.
- Cottrill retired 12 of the 14 batters he faced in the fourth through seventh innings before leaving the game.
- Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) provided an insurance tally with a bomb to right in the top of the ninth. Purdue Fort Wayne got two back in the bottom of the inning to account for the game’s final score.
Inside the Game
- Valpo batters worked a season-high 13 walks and notched 15 free passes including two hit batsmen. The walk total was Valpo’s highest since taking 14 on March 25 of last season vs. St. Bonaventure.
- The win came while playing shorthanded as Valpo faced a rash of injuries on Sunday at Evansville, when four starting position players all went down.
- Warfield and Renfro paced the team with three hits apiece. Five Valpo batters enjoyed multi-hit outputs, while three different players worked three walks each.
- Schmack’s triple was his first of the season and the third of his collegiate career.
- Renfro’s big fly was his fourth of the season and the 15th of his career.
Valpo (11-14) will start a three-game weekend series at Bradley on Friday night at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.