February 17, 2024123456789RHE
Alabama State000100100271
Win: Cottrill (1-0) 6.041127
Loss: Jorhan Laboy (0-1) 6.074414
Ryan (VALPO) 423110
Randy Flores (ALST) 502000
Quentin Jenkins (ALST) 402100

February 17, 2024123456789RHE
Alabama State000001000151
Win: Foley (1-0) 7.0511011
Loss: L. Rodriguez (0-1) 1.024411
Giusti (VALPO) 412300
C. Lopez (ALST) 402100
Starting Pitching Shines as Valpo Sweeps Doubleheader from Alabama State
Saturday, February 17, 2024
Starting Pitching Shines as Valpo Sweeps Doubleheader from Alabama State
Josh Cottrill picked up the win in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader. (File photo)

The Valparaiso University baseball team received stellar starting pitching performances in both games of a doubleheader, downing host Alabama State 8-2 in the opener before breaking through late to win the nightcap 8-1 in Montgomery, Ala. The victories came over a Hornets’ team that won their conference’s regular-season title and won 41 games last season.

How It Happened – Game 1

  • Valpo struck first thanks to a big third inning. Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) smoked an RBI double to get the Beacons on the board, then Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) made it back-to-back two-baggers with a two-run double of his own to boost the lead to 3-0. Later in the inning, Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) lifted a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 4-0.
  • Starting pitcher Josh Cottrill (Pewaukee, Wis. / Pewaukee) turned in a gem, going six strong innings and striking out seven while permitting just one run on four hits and two walks. Alabama State’s only run against him came on an RBI single through the left side in the fourth.
  • Righty Trent Turzenski (Burlington, Wis. / Burlington) came out of the bullpen and went the rest of the way, nailing down a three-inning save by allowing just one run on three hits. He struck out four and did not issue a walk. The only Hornet run against him was an RBI single in the seventh that made it 4-2.
  • The Beacons broke the game open in the eighth inning. After back-to-back walks to start the inning, Carson Husmann (Hanna, Ind. / South Central [Bradley]) laid down a bunt that led to a wild throw by the pitcher that brought home a run. Valpo continued to play small ball as Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) laid down a bunt single to bring in another tally and make it 6-2.
  • The big inning continued thanks to an RBI double by Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central), then a string of three straight walks – the third of which was yielded to Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) – forced in a run to make it 8-2.
  • Turzenski worked a 1-2-3 ninth to nail down the win and needed just 32 pitches to cover three innings.

Inside the Game – Game 1

  • Ryan paced the team with three hits, while Thurston and Connor Giusti (Hoffman Estates, Ill. / Fremd [Wisconsin Oshkosh]) both added multi-hit efforts. Six of Valpo’s 10 hits were doubles including two by Giusti.
  • The six doubles marked Valpo’s highest total since delivering seven on May 1, 2021 vs. Illinois State.
  • Cottrill matched the longest outing of his career and picked up right where he left off at the end of last season. He allowed just one unearned run on one hit over six innings in the May 24 MVC Tournament game vs. Belmont, the final game of Valpo’s 2023 season.
  • Cottrill’s win was the second of his career, improving to 2-0, while Turzenski picked up his first collegiate save.

How It Happened – Game 2

  • Valpo received another strong pitching performance in Game 2, this time from left-handed freshman Lucas Foley (Deer Park, Ill. / Lake Zurich). He glided through seven innings while striking out 11 and walking none. He gave up just five hits and one run, which came in the bottom of the sixth as the Hornets broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double.
  • Alabama State starter Devin Brooks went seven shutout innings and yielded just three hits while striking out eight. He faced the leadoff batter in the eighth and issued his second walk before the Hornets went to the bullpen.
  • After Hannahs worked a walk against the starter to begin the inning, Renfro was hit by a pitch and Valpo had two on with nobody out in the eighth, chasing 1-0. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third, then Schmack delivered a go-ahead, two-run single to make it 2-1.
  • A big eighth inning continued when Giusti delivered a two-run double to up the edge to 4-1, then a squeeze bunt by Ryan capped a five-run inning and made it 5-1 Valpo.
  • Reliever Jake Jakubowski (Lake in the Hills, Ill. / Huntley [Heartland]) took over in the eighth and sent down the side in order to keep it a 5-1 edge, an inning that ended with a swinging strikeout.
  • Valpo added another run in the ninth as Renfro picked up a base hit that increased the edge to 6-1. Hannahs later scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-1, then a sac fly by Giusti made it 8-1.  
  • Jakubowski polished off the win with a flawless ninth. He retired all six men he faced.

Inside the Game – Game 2

  • Valpo received two hits from Giusti, one of which was a double, his third of the day between the two games. He drove in three runs in the nightcap.
  • Foley’s stellar outing came in his collegiate debut. He became the first Valpo hurler with double-figure strikeouts in a game since Griffin McCluskey on May 12, 2023 at Belmont (11).

Up Next

Valpo (2-1) and Alabama State will close out the three-game series on Sunday at 11 a.m. in Montgomery, Ala. Links to live video (Hornets Sports Network, subscription only) and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.