The Valparaiso University baseball team recognized a trio of seniors prior to Saturday’s Senior Day contest, a 10-3 setback to Illinois State to close out the regular season at Emory G. Bauer Field. Pitchers Bobby Nowak (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central [Kankakee]) and Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian Hills CC]) along with catcher Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]) comprised the senior class. Numerous former Valpo baseball players were in attendance as part of an event hosted by Valpo’s alumni office.
How It Happened
- Illinois State scored the game’s first run on a wild pickoff throw in the top of the first.
- Valpo leveled the score when Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) drove in a run with a ground ball that followed a Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) ground-rule double in the third.
- Daniel Pacella led off the fourth with a solo home run to put Illinois State ahead 2-1. The Redbirds got two more in that inning to build up a three-run advantage.
- In the bottom of the sixth, Skrine lifted a fly ball that was dropped by the Illinois State right fielder. Skrine reached second safely and was credited with a sacrifice fly and an RBI since Schmack was tagging and scored from third.
- Illinois State added two in the seventh to expand the lead to 6-2.
- A run-scoring single by Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) in the eighth reduced the deficit to three, but Illinois State poured on four insurance runs in the top of the ninth.
Inside the Game
- Schmack led the way with three hits, while Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central), Matt Olive (Minneapolis, Minn. / Blake School) and Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) notched two apiece.
- Schmack doubled twice, lifting his team-high double total to 15.
- Schmack also picked up his 11th stolen base of the season,
- Valpo wrapped up the regular season with its highest overall and MVC-only win total since joining the league. The Beacons also boasted their best MVC-only winning percentage since joining the conference.
Eighth-seeded Valpo (20-25, 10-17 MVC) will take on fifth-seeded Murray State on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. CT / 6 p.m. ET to open up the double-elimination Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ with links to live video and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.