After sweeping Bradley over the weekend, the Valparaiso University baseball team earned another sweep on Monday when the Missouri Valley Conference released its weekly awards. Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]) was named MVC Player of the Week, while Bobby Nowak (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) earned the league’s Pitcher of the Week honor.
Skrine batted .636 (7-for-11) with five runs scored, three home runs and nine RBIs in this week’s three-game road sweep of Bradley. He hit a home run in each of the three games in the series on his way to racking up 16 total bases, slugging 1.455 and reaching base at a .643 clip. All three of his home runs in the series were no doubters. In the second game of the series, Skrine had the first five-RBI game by a Valpo player in two years while going 4-for-4 plus a sacrifice fly. In Saturday’s doubleheader, he went 6-for-7 with two home runs, four runs scored and seven RBIs over the two games. His huge weekend came after he missed the previous two games due to an injury. Skrine was also named National Player of the Day by D1Baseball on Saturday.
Skrine’s showing propelled Valpo to its first road sweep of a Missouri Valley Conference series since joining the league as the Beacons beat the Bradley 4-3, 12-8 and 10-0. In the series finale, Skrine’s bat helped Valpo invoke the 10-run rule in a league game for the first time since joining the conference. His defense behind the plate was also a positive factor in the series as he cut down a pair of would-be base stealers and had a perfect fielding percentage with no passed balls.
Nowak twirled a shutout in Saturday’s series finale, putting together a three-hit, complete game masterpiece while striking out six and walking three in a 10-0, seven-inning win that clinched a series sweep at Bradley.
Nowak, who registered the win to improve to 4-0 on the season, pitched Valpo’s first shutout since March 12, 2021 (Colin Fields’ no-hitter). He threw the team’s first three-hitter since May 2015. The only member of the program to allow three hits or fewer in a complete game since then was Fields in the no-no. Nowak, who was making just his third Valpo start after being used in relief for most of his career, improved his ERA to a glittering 2.10 and his opponents’ batting average to .172 thanks to his brilliance against the Braves.
Nowak becomes Valpo’s third MVC Pitcher of the Week this season, joining Jacob Rosenkranz and Connor Lockwood. They join Jake Miller, Colin Fields (twice) and Easton Rhodehouse as the only Valpo players to earn MVC Pitcher of the Week honors since the program joined the MVC.
Skrine becomes the fourth member of the program to win MVC Player of the Week since joining the league, joining Sam Shaikin, Kaleb Hannahs and Nolan Tucker. This marks the first time Valpo has swept the league’s weekly awards since joining The Valley. The last time Valpo swept the weekly awards in any conference was May 16, 2016, when Jake Hanson was named Horizon League Batter of the Week and Ellis Foreman achieved Horizon League Pitcher of the Week status.
The Beacons will return to action on Tuesday at Notre Dame before hosting UIC this weekend.