May 23, 2023123456789RHE
Murray State12211040X11131
Win: Boynton (6-2) 4.031011
Loss: Nowak (4-5) 3.186524
Ryan (VALPO) 512000
Maka (VALPO) 412210
Skrine (VALPO) 412301
Olive (VALPO) 502000
Mercer (MUR) 512100
Vogel (MUR) 402210
Krizen (MUR) 422000
Gardner (MUR) 322200
Strong Start Not Enough as Murray State Defeats Valpo in MVC Tournament Opener
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Strong Start Not Enough as Murray State Defeats Valpo in MVC Tournament Opener
Jake Skrine hit his 12th home run of the season on Tuesday.

The eighth-seeded Valparaiso University baseball team held a four-run lead five batters into the game, but an impressive opening inning was not enough as Murray State pulled away for an 11-6 victory in the opening round of the double-elimination Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, hosted by Indiana State at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Ind.

How It Happened

  • Valpo grabbed the immediate lead in the top of the first when Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) continued to pad his team-leading RBI total, coming through with a two-run single to drive in Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) and Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central), who were at second and third.
  • The strong start got even stronger a moment later, when Jake Skrine (Longmont, Colo. / Mead [Indiana]) cracked a home run to left that was gone when it left the bat. The two-run shot doubled the lead to 4-0.
  • Murray State’s bottom of the first started with two outs and the bases clear, but they scratched out a run to cut the deficit to three.
  • The Racers scored twice more in the third, using a squeeze bunt single and another run-scoring knock to whittle the deficit to one at 4-3.
  • Ryan made a sprawling snag in center for the first out of the third, but a moment later Carson Garner’s home run tied the game at four. The Racers produced another run in that inning to take their first lead of the day at 5-4.  
  • Murray State added single tallies in both the fourth and fifth innings to expand the lead to 7-4.
  • Valpo moved a step closer when Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) picked up an RBI in the sixth on a fielder’s choice bouncer to make it 7-5. In the bottom of the inning, Grant Jablonski (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawaka) worked the first perfect inning of the day for the Valpo pitching staff including a pair of looking strikeouts.
  • Murray State scored four in the seventh to expand the lead to 11-5.
  • Righty Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook) worked a scoreless ninth including a pair of strikeouts.

Inside the Game

  • Maka increased his RBI total to 42, the most by a Valpo player since Blake Billinger had 46 in 2018.
  • Skrine’s home run was his 12th of the season, making him the first Valpo player with a dozen or more since Dan Schrum hit 13 in 2002. He needs one more to climb into the top five in single-season program history.
  • Valpo collected 11 hits in the game including four players with multi-hit outputs – Maka, Ryan, Skrine and Matt Olive (Minneapolis, Minn. / Blake School).

Up Next

Valpo (20-26) will play seventh-seeded Belmont in an elimination game on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. CT / 12:30 p.m. ET at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.